by the El Reportero wire services
COLOMBIA - Politicians both from the opposition and the ruling coalition have called for a new legislative election following the arrest of six congressmen last week for their links to the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). The last legislative election was held less than a year ago, in March 2006. Parties loyal to President Alvaro Uribe gained a comfortable majority in congress, with the result that Uribe was expected to exert even greater control over congress than he did in his first term. However, congress’s reputation has since been dragged through the mire. The supreme court and the public prosecutor have initiated criminal proceedings against a number of legislators over their links to paramilitaries in what has become known as the parapolitical scandal. The overwhelming majority of those who have been implicated belonged to the pro-Uribe parties.