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What is the Future of Uribismo in Colombia Without the Figure of Álvaro Uribe?

The recent results in the presidential elections in Colombia put the entire right away from power for the first time in history.

Alvaro Uribe

Photo: TW-AlvaroUribeVel

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Cuál es el futuro del uribismo en Colombia, sin la figura de Álvaro Uribe?

On June 19, Colombia experienced news that it had never experienced before. Colombians elected, for the first time in history, an openly leftist president and an Afro woman as vice president. This meant that, for the first time, the right was the big loser, which was unable to put up a candidate in the second round.

In addition to this, the right in Colombia will not have its greatest representative either: former president Álvaro Uribe. Uribe, a love-hate politician, is possibly the most powerful and influential man in the coffee country. It was he who (through questionable negotiations) managed to establish the presidential re-election, comfortably won his re-election, appointed his successor in 2010 (Juan Manuel Santos, who would later stand out), and supported the second vote in 2014 (Óscar Iván Zuluaga, who lost to Santos) and "placed" the little-known Iván Duque in the presidency in 2022.

You may also be interested in: The Challenges of Gustavo Petro, New President of Colombia

Uribe managed to consolidate the right-wing party in Colombia: the Centro Democrático and was elected as the most voted senator 2 consecutive times. A clear political leader who this time will no longer be in Congress. The question is what future is expected for the right, without Uribe.

Colombia is a traditional right-wing country. In recent years, power has been divided between the right (for many, the extreme right) and the center-right. This is why, for the first time, the right will oppose a political and economic model completely different from the one they are used to.

Within the same right, they are already rethinking a "life without Uribe." It will be difficult to replace the most influential politician in recent history while in opposition to a leftist government. But the Democratic Center has already shown that it can easily adapt to making opposition that generates revenue in future elections. The question is who will lead it, someone with the charisma to bring together all the former followers of former President Uribe? What kind of right should be dominant, progressive, conservative, situated in the cities or in the region?

Who Will Be the Leader of the Opposition?

When the opposition statute was approved, during the second term of President Juan Manuel Santos, it was decided that the second largest vote in the presidential elections would occupy a seat in the Senate. While the vice-presidential formula would occupy a seat in the House of Representatives.

The idea of the proposal was to give a voice to the former candidate who, in theory, would represent a large portion of Colombians who opposed the new government. However, the second in the vote on June 19, Rodolfo Hernández, surprised a good portion of the unwary, when he stated that neither he nor his party declared themselves in opposition to the Petro Government.

The Petro Coalition.

One fact that has changed the panorama of the opposition for the next 4 years is the coalition that President-elect Gustavo Petro is forming. In less than a month, he has managed to consolidate forces from the Partido Liberal (Center Right), the Partido Alianza Verde (Center Left), the Pacto Histórico (Left), the Partido Comunes (Extreme Left) and one or another congressman from minority parties. But it has also had nods from the Partido de la U (Centre Right) and the Partido Conservador (Right). A complete legislative steamroller needed to pass laws and reforms.

In this way, until now, the only majority party that has openly declared itself in opposition is the Democratic Center. Quite possibly, this is where the new face (or new faces) of the opposition to the Petro administration will come from.

The Calls to Be the Critical Voices of Gustavo Petro

Maria Fernanda Cabal
The strongest voice within the most extreme wing of the Democratic Center. This policy has been one of the main criticisms of the Government of his co-party Iván Duque and former candidate for the same party for these 2022 elections. Many (even within the right-wing) consider her very controversial, but it is a policy that a lot of people like in the right bases. Defender of conservative values, the public force, and the free market.

Miguel Uribe
A new face inside the Democratic Center. He is the grandson of Julio César Turbay, former Liberal president between 11978 and 1982. He was Secretary of the Government of the former mayor of Bogotá Enrique Peñalosa and was head of the list in the 2022 legislative elections for the Democratic Center and the most voted senator. Defender of conservative values.

Federico "Fico" Gutierrez
The former mayor of Medellín ended up being the right-wing presidential candidate in 2022. He received support from the Partido Liberal, the Partido Conservador, the Partido Cambio Radical, the Partido de la U, the Centro Democrático and Christian parties. However, it did not make it to the second round. Gutiérrez will not hold any seats in Congress and will have to lead the right from outside politics (at least for now). Defender of conservative values, but with a more progressive vision in same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of abortion in cases of rape, malformation of the fetus, or risk to the life of the mother.

Gabriel Santos Garcia
The former representative to the Chamber of the Democratic Center was unable to repeat his seat. However, it represents a more progressive right, similar to libertarian politics. The son of former Vice President Francisco Santos, he is in favor of progressive rights and free enterprise.

Enrique Gomez
The case of Enrique Gómez is quite striking. He is a man with 100% conservative roots. He is the nephew of the murdered Álvaro Gómez Hurtado. Despite having arrived almost unknown in the 2022 elections, where he was in last place among the candidates still in the campaign (0.23% of the votes), his image has begun to penetrate within sectors closer to the Bogota right. .