In Colombia, Major Paper to Host Blogs for Prez Candidates

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(AP) In another sign Colombia’s presidential election campaign is heating up, the country’s main newspaper offered Sunday to host Web sites for all the candidates in what is expected to be a spicy race.

The Bogota daily El Tiempo said it would host the Web logs, or blogs, for candidates to explain their proposals and would not edit the content, a unique effort to support democracy in the race for the May 2006 elections.

President Alvaro Uribe, a hard-liner who is popular for his efforts to bring peace and stability to this war-torn South American nation, hopes to stand for re-election and on Saturday made a campaign-like swing to Colombia’s Pacific coast.

Last week, the left-wing Independent Democratic Pole party named Sen. Antonio Navarro, a former guerrilla leader and leading critic of Uribe, as its presidential candidate.

El Tiempo said the candidates can update their blogs whenever and however they want, but said aggressive attacks on rival candidates would not be allowed. The sites would be linked from El Tiempo’s own Web page, which it said is Colombia’s most visited Internet site.

Congress recently passed a bill modifying the constitution to allow politicians to run for re-election. That would allow Uribe to run for a second consecutive term, but the Constitutional Court — the nation’s highest tribunal — has not yet given its stamp of approval to the move, so his re-election campaign remains in legal limbo.

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