Colombia faces a historic moment in 2022. For the first time in history the right wing is not leading in the polls, the left has united behind a coalition called “Historical Pact” and the Center and Center-left has also united in coalition called “Coalition of Hope”. Both are leading in the polls to the 2022 election. The winner of the previous 2018 election was Democratic Center (right wing) but has mainly done things that were not promised and thus there is Democratic Center fatigue. Current president Duque is highly unfavorable and people want change. Before COVID-19 hit, there were riots across the country demanding fair changes to the economic system which is one of the most anti-equality in the world. There will be a minimun of three alliances. The Democratic Center and allies, which represent the establishment and the right and far right. There is a set of candidates from the Democratic Center, Maria del Rosario Guerra Senator from Democratic Center, Paloma Valencia Senator from Democratic Center, Paola Holguin Senator from Democratic Center, 2014 Democratic Center nominee for President Oscar Ivan Zuluaga. Democratic Center allies also have their candidates, Alejandro Char from Radical Change, Dilian Francisca Toro from Party of the U will also participate in the Right wing alliance. Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogota wants to participate too along with Federico Gutierrez. There will also be a primary between the candidates of the Center and Center left called Coalition of Hope. The Coalition of Hope is made by the Green Alliance, Compromise Citizens of Colombia of Sergio Fajardo the 2018 nominee of Coalition Colombia (including Green Alliance), as well as the new party “Dignity” from Senator Jorge Robledo. There are more candidates from this Coalition, former liberal party members Juan Manuel Galan, Juan Fernando Cristo and Former VP Humberto de la Calle. Green Alliance will choose it’s nominee from a set of several polls and then it’s nominee will face Jorge Robledo from Dignity (center left), Sergio Fajardo from Compromise Citizens of Colombia (center/center left), Juan Manuel Galan a former Liberal party senator running as an independent in the intra-party primary and Humberto de la Calle former 2018 Liberal Party nominee for president who will also run as an independent in the intra party primary. The Liberal party officialy will not participate in this alliance. The only party in the alliance who doesn’t have a nominee is the Green Alliance. Which has it’s own set of pre-candidates: Camilo Romero, Ivan Marulanda and Antonio Sanguino. On the side of the left, there is Gustavo Petro from Human Colombia (left wing), he represents the hard left and a populist left, which has had ties with Venezuelan president Hugo Chaves, and has had favorable opinions of Cuba and Venezuelan regimes. Petro might face Alexander Lopez from Alternative Democratic Pole (Left Wing) and has expressed interest in participating in a primary against left wing figures, but he is the most highly visible and popular figure in the left. Those three alliances will participate in the election as for now. As an independent, and without participating in any alliance or coalition, Rodolfo Hernandez, a successful mayor in Bucaramanga, will go alone to the first round of the presidential election. His party “Liga Anticorruption” will have candidates to congress too.
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Introducing the First Round of the 2018 Colombian Presidential Election
REBUILD COLOMBIA ALLIANCE: Democratic Center and disidents from the Conservative Party. (RIGHT WING)
Candidates for the primaries:
- Marta Lucia Ramirez (Conservative Party Disident)
- Ivan Duque (Democratic Center)
- Alejandro Ordonez (United for the Family).
- Instead of Duque, from the Democratic Center is also:
- Oscar Ivan Zuluaga the 2014 Democratic Center nominee
- Carlos Holmes Trujillo the 2014 Democratic Center Vicepresidential nominee
- Senator Maria del Rosario Guerra.
COALITION COLOMBIA: Green Alliance, Compromise Citizens for Colombia and Democratic Alternative Pole. (CENTER)
Candidates for the primaries:
- Senator Claudia Lopez from Green Alliance
- Former Governor of Antioquia Sergio Fajardo of Compromise Citizens for Colombia
- Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo form the Democratic Alternative Pole
BETTER VARGAS LLERAS: Radical Change Party and Better Vargas Lleras (RIGHT WING)
Movement.Candidates for the General Election:
- Former Vicepresident German Vargas Lleras
HUMAN COLOMBIA: Movement Human Colombia (LEFT WING)
Candidate for the General Election:
- Gustavo Petro, former mayor of Bogota
COALITION FOR PEACE: Liberal Party, Social Party of National Unity, and “We are all Colombia” movement.
Candidate for the primaries:
- Humberto de la Calle Lombana, former Vicepresident of Colombia.
- Clara Lopez, former Labour Minister and 2014 Democratic Alternative Pole nominee for president.
FARC: Common Alternative Revolutionary Force
- Rodrigo Londono
2018 Colombian Run Off Presidential Election:
Change vs Establishment; War Against Corruption Vs War Against Terrorism; Maintain the Peace Deal Vs Destroy The Peace Deal.
UPDATED DECEMBER 1 , 2017
After a hard-fought campaign in the first round, Sergio Fajardo won the We Can Alliance primaries, Ivan Duque won the Democratic Center-Conservative Party primaries, German Vargas Lleras from Radical Change Party was nominated, Gustavo Petro from Human Colombia was nominated, and Humberto de la Calle from Liberal Party/Party of the U won the primaries.
After the first round vote on May 27, Fajardo and Duque narrowly advanced into the run-off in June 17. Vargas Lleras endorsed Duque, De la Calle endorsed Fajardo and Petro called for abstention. Nobel Peace Prize winner, current and highly disapproved president Santos, who doesn’t want Democratic Center anti-peace stance in the presidency, is working to elect Fajardo (who favors the peace deal) as the next president, even thought they are not remotely close.
Although Fajardo brings stability to the economic class, the Democratic Center is trying to tie him to the evolving Venezuela crisis and collapse, for having made an alliance with the leftist Alternative Democratic Pole. Venezuelan collapse and neighboring Maduro’s regime atrocities are every day on the news. Both candidates disapprove the current government of Venezuela and call for immediate elections in that country, although Duque goes further and more aggressively.
Support varies among regions but the presidency will be decided in a dead-heat.
Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda and Quindio the “Paisa Region”, is highly polarized in the run off because Fajardo and Uribe(and thus Duque) are equally and highly popular. Fajardo and Uribe were governors of Antioquia, and mayors of Medellin, the second most important city in the country. Antioquia’s natives colonized decades ago the departments of Caldas, Risaralda and Quindio, and they still share a common history, architecture, culture, accent and idiosyncrasy.
The North Coast/Caribbean coast/”Costeño” culture region: La Guajira, Cesar, Magdalena, Atlantico, Bolivar, Sucre, San Andres Isles and Cordoba. This region has the same accent and common traits with the coastal population from the different countries in the Caribbean like Puerto Rico, or Venezuelans. The “Costeños” consider themselves different than the rest of Colombians, some are pushing integration between them in order to get support for independence from the rest of the country. This region was Vargas Lleras territory in the first round, having won with more than 10% to 20% on the first round on May 27 in every department of the North Caribbean Coast, while Fajardo and Duque disputed the second place. After Vargas Lleras narrowly not making it to the run-off, he supported Duque and as expected, Duque now leads in the North Caribbean Coast heading into the run off by more than double digits.
Central/Interior departments: Norte de Santander, Santander, Boyaca, Cundinamarca, Tolima and Huila. With the exception of Huila, who disapproves highly the peace process and supports Democratic Center as a party, there’s a dead heat in most of the rest of the departments because of the degree of high polarization between both campaigns, that represent very different priorities.
The Pacific Coast: Choco, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño:
Nariño and Cauca are heavily for the peace process and against the policies of Uribe’s party. Valle del Cauca (with Cali the third largest city in the country) is leaning for the “We Can Alliance” candidate because it likes the corruption argument against the political class and supports slightly the peace process. Choco: Vargas Lleras territory in the first round, is in a dead heat because the high poverty is playing a double effect, on one side the political machinery is buying poor people’s votes, but the corruption-crisis in that department is such, that rest are clearly tired of the same old politics. This department favors heavily the peace process.
Llanos region: Arauca, Casanare, Meta, Caqueta, Putumayo, Guaviare, Vichada, Guania, Vaupes and Amazonas. The least populated region in the country has a high approval rating for Uribe’s presidency especially in Casanare, Caqueta and Guaviare, were the FARC terrorist group has caused great amount of damage with decades of war. The exception is Putumayo, which has a very negative opinion of Uribe’s party and policies and is heavily for the peace process.
Bogota DC: The capital of Colombia deserves a special place in the list. Bogota has always voted against the political class, for the “outsider”, the change “agent” and will likely support the candidate that rallies the young, which undoubtedly is the “We Can Alliance” candidate. Bogota heavily favors the peace process deal with FARC, making it hard for the Democratic Center to make inroads there, unless war becomes the priority again. A terrorist attack heading to election day might decide this evenly divided, close and heated election.
UPDATED DECEMBER 1 , 2017
Colombia Presidential 2018 Election
Colombia faces a historic moment in 2018. For the first time in history, the FARC terrorist group will no longer be a threat to the public security, due to the peace process that concluded in 2017. Although the country should be unified towards the post-conflict, Colombian society remains polarized by the policies and contents negotiated in the peace process. Colombians view negatively by a 70%-30% or even 80%-20%, some of the content in the peace process with FARC terrorist group. The most negatively view aspects of the peace treaty is the possibility of FARC members become automatically members of Congress and also the impunity for which they will not face justice for their decades of committing crimes.
Context: In 2010, Juan Manuel Santos was elected to continue-then president Alvaro Uribe accomplishments, Uribe played heavily to elect Santos as his successor, in order to continue the war against terrorists and rebels to bring security after decades of Colombia being a failed state. With Uribe and Colombia’s “democratic security” policy, investor confidence and the economy re-ignited. During Uribe’s 8-year government Colombia went from being a failed state, with a weak and fragile economy, to become a regional power and almost all territory lost to FARC over decades was recovered, that’s why Colombians view Uribe and his government highly. But something unexpected happened, after Santos was elected with Uribe’s support, Santos broke all links to Uribe and changed the national topic of war against the terrorists, to peace with the rebels. FARC were no longer a terrorist group to wage war with, but instead a rebel group with which the government must make a peace process, even if it imply giving them seats in Congress and impunity to their decades of crimes. Uribe became the strongest voice against the peace process, polarizing the Colombian society.
In the 2014 election, Uribe now Santos political enemy, founded his own party, Centro Democratico(Democratic Center), with candidates to Congress and the presidency. Uribe’s chosen candidate for president was Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, which make it to the second round in first place with 29%, and Santos in second place with 24%. In the run off ultimately the hope of a peace process helped Santos and he won over Zuluaga 50%-45%.
In 2016, Santos asked the Colombian people in a plebiscite if they supported the content of the peace process. During a 2-month political campaign Uribe and his party weighted heavily for NO, while the government and Santos for YES. The results were astoundingly close, 50.1% for NO to 49.9% for YES. After Santos admitted defeat, Uribe claimed victory and begun the campaign the reclaim the presidency in 2018, in order to dismantle the peace process deals with FARC. Santos received a week later the Nobel Peace Prize.
During 2017, simultaneous conversations begun between different political parties and movements to go united to the 2018 presidential election.
1. Democratic Center, The Conservatives and United for the Family (Right-To Far Right): The “Democratic Center” of President Uribe, proposed going together with the parties and movements that supported the “No” against the plebiscite of Santos peace process, which includes the “Conservative Party” and popular movements of christians, right-wing figures and movements against same sex rights. This coalition was the same that got 50.1% for NO in the plebiscite. The “Conservative Party” accepted to push talks with Uribe’s “Democratic Center” to go united with the same presidential candidate to the first round of the 2018 presidential elections, making a fierce opposition to the peace process and Santos government which has a 20% approval rating. The “Conservative Party” has former Uribe’s defense minister Marta Lucia Ramirez as candidate, while the “Democratic Center” of Uribe, has several candidates: senator Ivan Duque, senator Maria del Rosario Guerra, senator Paloma Valencia, former minister Rafael Nieto and former minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo. As an independent from “Strong for the Family”, former Procurator General of the Nation, Alejandro Ordoñez, is also participating in this coalition. The presidential candidate of these three parties will be selected in a national primary held in March 2018 the same day in which the Colombian people vote for Congress. The candidates participating will be Ramirez for the Conservatives, Ordoñez for his movement “Strong for the Family” and Uribe’s candidate for “Democratic Center”. Only Uribe’s candidate has not being selected to date. The winner will became the coalition Conservatives-Democratic Center-United for the Family candidate for president in the first round in May 2018, the second place will be the vice presidential candidate and the third place will be “granted great participation in a government if the coalition wins the presidency”. The main topic will be oppose to Santos government and opposition to the peace process.
2. Green Alliance, Compromise Citizens for Colombia and Alternative Democratic Pole (Center to Center Left). The coalition “Against Corruption”, is also celebrating a intra-party primary in March 2018, the same day the elections for Congress. In that primary they are going to participate the following candidates: Sergio Fajardo from “Compromise Citizens for Colombia” was Antioquia’s former governor and former mayor of Medellin, the second most important city in Colombia. Fajardo has been projecting himself as a different type of national figure over the past 10 years against the way politics is done in Colombia, he’s being talking as a person-not-politician that invests in education and fiercely against corruption. Corruption is something that Colombians value as the worst problem facing the country by a wide margin over the peace process, FARC or anything else. Fajardo is the best regarded politician in Colombia, with negative opinion of him in single digits, and positive opinions of him in between 50% to 60%. In this coalition will also participate Senator Claudia Lopez from Green Alliance, Lopez was surprisingly elected to the Senate in 2014 without having any political grassroots or politicians behind her. Her success was attributed that she has become the fiercest voice against corruption in Colombia, she tells “things like it is”, her judicial complaints have sent several Radical Change Party and Democratic Center politicians to jail, making her a nightmare for the establishments way of working. Senator Jorge Robledo is also participating in this alliance as the candidate of “Alternative Democratic Pole” the biggest left-wing party in Colombia, in the Senate Senator Robledo was the biggest opposition leader during Uribe’s 8-year presidency, accusing his ministers of corruption and multiple scandals. He has done the same to Santos. Robledo is not as popular as Lopez or Fajardo according to polls, but he is the Senator with the most votes in Colombia, around 250,000 and has a die-hard following of supporters. The winner of this coalition primary in March will became the candidate for president for Green Alliance-Compromise Citizens-Democratic Alternative Pole and the second place will be awarded the vice presidency. Corruption, the way politics works in Colombia, prioritizing education and calling “Uribe and Santos the same thing” will be their main topic.
3. The government-sponsored “United for Peace” alliance is being worked out by the Liberal Party, Social Party of the National Unity, with the participation of Clara Lopez “We Are All Colombia”. (Right to Left Wing). The Liberal Party currently in Santos government proposed an alliance that defends the peace process from Uribe’s candidate, their candidates are; Santos former Minister Juan Cristo, Liberal Senator Juan Manuel Galan and peace process chief negotiator and former Liberal vice president Humberto De La Calle. The Social Party of the National Unity, the largest party in Congress, also in this coalition is in crisis, the party was founded to support Uribe in 2004, calling it “Party of the U(U for Uribe)”, but abandoned him to support Santos, now that Santos is in 20% approval rating, the senators and representatives are trying to dismantle the party in order “to support whatever candidate they want”. But all points out that Santos position to make an alliance with the Liberals will materialize. Currently the party has two candidates for president, former Santos minister Juan Carlos Pinzon and senator Roy Barreras, two very unknown figures compared to the rest of the candidates for president. Clara Lopez “We are All Colombia” movement, who was the “Democratic Alternative Pole” candidate in 2014 obtaining 2 million votes resigned her party after the election of Jorge Robledo as the presidential candidate. Lopez, who was a minister in Santos government by then, couldn’t make it to the selection process and opted to remain in the government, later to resign her party and make an independent bid to the presidency. She is interested in going into an intra-party coalition with the Liberals to go together to the first round of the presidential election having the defense of the peace process as their main topic.
4. Former Vice president German Vargas Lleras; Radical Change Party (Right wing). A highly known figure, Vargas Lleras comes from the establishment and has made alliances throughout the country with highly questioned local politicians, making him to the eyes of Colombians as a politician that makes anything to get to power at whatever cost. He is the very essence of the establishment and the way politics works. His alliances had made toll on his favorability, he has supported governors, senators, mayors, etc who later had ended in prison for murder, narcotrafficking, corruption and links with illegal groups. They’re dozen of cases. However, Vargas Lleras remains a strong candidate. Since resigning as Santos vice president, he has been traveling to five cities/communities/towns per day to make deals with local politicians in order to organize his presidential bid for 2018. He is rapidly accumulating local establishment politicians support and will have the largest political machinery, but sometimes that’s not enough, precisely in a year were nobody wants to go alone to the first round of the presidential elections. Even him, has made private and public calls to the Liberal Party(from which he was a member) and has been publicly rejected for now. He offered the vice presidency to the Liberal former representative Simon Gaviria, son of the former president Cesar Gaviria, current leader of the Liberal Party. But, Liberal leaders don’t like him personally and that has closed the door to a possible alliance, for now. Vargas Lleras has also called on the Social Party for National Unity(Party of the U) to support him, but has found the same resistance to his name. Presidential candidates from those two parties have criticized him hardly and no alliance seems possible at the moment. Specially because those two parties support Santos peace process in Congress, and were heavily for the YES in the Plebiscite, while Vargas Lleras as vicepresident of Santos, was a critic of the peace process and members of his Radical Change Party opposed the Plebiscite. Vargas will likely adopt an opposition to the peace process in his campaign. (Right wing)
5. Former mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro; “Human Colombia”. Petro was a Senator of Democratic Alternative Pole during Uribe’s 8-year presidency, and received one of the highest amount of votes nationally for the senate and was a fierce opposition leader, receiving death threats daily and living in different hotels to avoid an assassination attempt. Petro is a radical-left-wing leader, sympathizing with Venezuelan presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. Petro was also elected major of Bogota, Colombian capital, in 2011 with 32% of the vote. He was removed from office and sanctioned from participating in politics for 18 years later by then Procurator General of the Nation, Alejandro Ordoñez(far-ring wing), for irregularities in Petro’s decisicion to nationalize the garbage recollection of the city of Bogota. Petro posed as a martyr of the establishments private profit businesses and received national media attention in his rallies and protests, he later received protection from Inter-American Commission on Human Rights which ordered the suspension of the decision of removal of his office and suspension of the sanction that prohibited Petro from seeking office for 18 years. Then president Santos, re-established Petro as the mayor of Bogota. But things did not ended there, a re-call vote process to remove Petro democratically begun, and after months of Petro contesting that process in the courts, it failed to make to it to the ballot box. He eventually ended his term as mayor without having the re-call taken place and is now an official candidate for president of Colombia with his movement “Human Colombia”. He has fiercely criticized the Green Alliance-Compromise Citizens and Democratic Alternative Pole for not inviting him into their coalition, but truth is, nobody want’s him near, given the hummanitary, political, economic and social crisis in the nearby collapsing Venezuela. Colombia has been witnessing the colapse of Venezuela under Chavez-Maduro regime, and that has affected the opinion Colombians have on that type of left-wing-politics that has a single digit approval and a 90% disapproval. Even thought Petro will try to focus the debate on the poverty and the social inequities in Colombia, the collapsing Venezuela crisis unfolding every day has reached such high levels, proven by the fact that Colombia is now flooded with Venezuelan immigrants, that might by it for Petro’s chances to become the next president.
After a decade of high growth in the Peruvian economy, a majority of voters claim they don’t feel the country is making any progress. Most of the growth comes from the boom in the mining sector, policies favoring foreign investment, but poverty remains rampant. The next president will face high poverty, insecurity and corruption, at the same time the coverage of basic necessities remains painfully short. Environmental groups and indigenous communities remain opposed to the current mining policies, which has and continues to be the engine of the Peruvian growth. The next president will have to diversify the country’s economy.
Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the Former President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, both from Japanese descent, is now attempting to win the race for the presidency for a second time. In her first attempt in 2011, she felt short with 48,5% of the vote. After the election she begun the campaign for 2016, establishing a political party, with grassroots all over the country and traveling more than any other candidate in history. Her work payed off and after winning the first round of the 2016 presidential election with 40%, doubling the candidate in second place, she is closer to become the first female president of Peru. Althought her candidacy inspires and rallies millions of people who remember her father’s accomplishments, millions of others march against the possibility of the return of, what they claim, was Fujimori’s authoritarian rule. While President Fujimori remains in jail with widely known health problems, a majority of Peruvians according to all polls, favor in a large margin a presidential pardon. With incumbent president Humala favorability in the low 20%, Keiko feels vindicated and that her time has come.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski former Minister of the Economy and successful business man, will face Keiko in the run off. Kuczynski a right-wing figure in Peru, master mind of the current economic model, that has benefited the high growth of the country widely praised around the world, faces critics at home who say he is for the rich and the large corporations. After not making it to the run off in 2011, became one of the most vocal supporters of Keiko in an attempt to defeat the then radical-left-wing candidate Humala. Surprisingly, the 78 year old, made it to the run off with barely 20% of the vote, well behind Fujimori’s 40%. He is well-perceived and supported by the well-educated and young people. Kuczynski has labeled himself as the candidate of the “ones who want democracy to remain” alluding to the authoritarian past of Keiko’s father, which makes the 2016 Peruvian presidential election one of the most polarized, contested and watched races in history.