Uruguay’s Lower House approved on Thursday the Unasur (Union of South American Nations) constitution protocol sending a strong message of support to the group’s summit in Guyana.
And although the prize is incomplete because the Senate will vote on it next Tuesday instead of Thursday as scheduled originally, the Uruguayan ratification will become the ninth vote making Unasur formally and legally effective.
The Unasur document was approved by 61 votes in 67 present (out of a total of 99 representatives). The Uruguayan ruling coalition lawmakers supported the initiative and so did some members of the two main opposition parties.
“The Senate had approved the initiative in the last legislature and the Chamber of Deputies was not able to do so because of the national elections (October 2009)” said Ruben Martinez Huelmo, member of the ruling coalition block.
The Senate was scheduled to vote the matter “urgently” following the Lower House approval but on request from members of the opposition it was postponed until next Tuesday.
“We believe that the broader political support to the Unasur initiative the better so we decided on request from the opposition, who are willing to approve it, to give them more time to study the documents”, said Carlos Baraibar, Senator from the ruling coalition.
Once the Uruguayan congress two houses approve the initiative and the Executive ratifies the decision, Unasur will have the necessary nine votes out of the twelve members, making the group legally effective.
The Unasur constitution document was signed in Brasilia, May 2008 by all presidents of South America. So far Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam and Venezuela have completed all the formal steps.
The four countries in process are Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay. Colombia is also quite advanced since one of the two houses has voted on the initiative and the second is expected in coming days.