As in much of Latin America, the Colombian president has historically been extremely powerful. The 1991 constitutional designers sought to achieve greater balance in the separation of powers, in part by weakening presidential power. This chapter considers the Court’s attempts to limit executive discretion and protect against excessive amalgamations of executive power. Even in areas where presidents have historically enjoyed almost plenary power, such as national security, the Court has attempted to place limits on presidential power. Most significant in this regard is the Court’s aggressive and successful jurisprudence limiting presidential use of states of exception. The Court has imposed jurisprudential criteria limiting states of exception to true and unexpected social and political crises, thus greatly reducing its historical role in day-to-day Colombian life and forcing political institutions to confront most problems under a situation of normality.
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