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Colombian President Takes Leave

January 14, 1998

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ President Ernesto Samper began a 10-day leave of absence Wednesday to undergo medical exams in Canada and take a vacation in Mexico.

Colombia’s constitution allows presidents to step down temporarily for personal reasons. Vice President Carlos Lemos will be in charge while Samper is gone.

The exams are related to wounds Samper suffered in an attack at Bogota’s airport in 1989. Samper was hit seven times by gunshots while standing next to Communist party leader Jose Antequera, the assassins’ target, who was killed in the attack.

The exams will be conducted at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Toronto, his office said.

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