Monday, December 05, 2022

Colombia: Petro seeks majority in Congress with liberals

BOGOTÁ ( Associated Press) — Left-wing Gustavo Petro faces one of his first challenges as Colombia’s elected president: securing a majority in Congress that would allow him to govern and fulfill his ambitious legislative agenda. which includes fiscal, agricultural and pension systems. Reform and for Congress only.

In the past few hours, Petro garnered the support of the Liberal Party, which although has not yet declared itself a government, has a great influence on the vote as it has one of the largest benches in Congress with 14 senators and 32 representatives. . Room.

“This would allow the President-elect to overcome a political obstacle and be able to demonstrate that he would have a coalition in his favor that would enable him to exercise his position as the winning party in the presidential election.” ,” the Liberal Party said. a statement.

It is common in Colombia for new presidents to initially consolidate coalitions with a majority. Petro gained a majority bench in the Senate in recent legislative elections with 20 seats on his political movement, the Historical Pact, a milestone for the left. After winning, he was also supported by the centrist Green Party, which added 13 more seats, and the Communes Party, which holds five seats and is made up of former Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) guerrilla fighters who won the 2016 election. On weapons after the peace agreement in

For political analyst Sandra Borda, a professor at the University of Los Andes, the challenge to Congress will be an autistic freedom in which they are in a position to criticize and be seen as convenient for the country. Wrong.

“I don’t know if the international community is calm enough that Petro can proceed so calmly, because there is a fear that this reform is not going in the direction they appreciate. We have to see what those policies are. What will be the content of what Congress will support and for whom in return,” Borda told the Associated Press.

Even with good numbers in Petro’s favour, left-wing senator Ivan Cepeda—who is closest to the president-elect—is not claiming victory. However, he told the Associated Press that they are on the right track and that it “opens the way for what we’ve called a national agreement, creating a conducive environment for moving forward in that conversation.”

Petro has insisted on achieving a “national settlement”, although it is still unclear how this will be done. According to Cepeda, he wanted a consensus on the reforms that the state needed to solve the country’s problems in political, social and economic matters.

“The call is too broad for all sectors that have weight in Colombian society, in the political world, business and popular spheres,” he said.

The election of Petro, who campaigned against the elite, caused uncertainty among a good portion of the 47% of voters who voted for real estate tycoon Rodolfo Hernández and who for the first time in the country opposed being ruled by leftists.

For Borda, the announcement of the new finance minister will be necessary to reassure Colombia and some regions of the international community, but above all for the markets.

The second key will be who will lead the opposition in Congress. As a rule, whoever is second in the presidential election in Colombia has the right to a seat in the Senate as a guarantee of opposition. However, Hernandez has not announced whether he will accept his seat and whether he will be able to lead the opposition.

In Congress, Hernandez has only two legislators from his political movement, who first arrived at the Capitol in March.

Petro, in any case, would face opposition from the Democratic Centre, the party led by former President lvaro Uribe (2002–2010), which has a large bench and the ruling party of conservative President Ivan Duque, who would hand over power. 7 August.

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