The Political Reform of Gustavo Petro Could Break the Ruling Party

Recent fissures within the government parties due to the Political Reform that the Gustavo Petro administration is advancing could end up dissolving the pro-government majorities

Gustavo Petro

Photo: TW-petrogustavo

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: La Reforma Política de Gustavo Petro podría quebrar al oficialismo

Colombia is experiencing for the first time the mess that is a left-wing government. The arrival of Gustavo Petro to power comes with many concerns and intrigues. For example, one of the most notorious cases is the way in which congressmen and politicians who have built their careers all their lives within the opposition today are Government/Officialism. This is precisely what has caused various frictions within the National Unity parties that Gustavo Petro is looking for.

Government Coalition

Today, Gustavo Petro governs with a diverse coalition within Congress. From his same coalition that led him to the presidency called the Historical Pact, which includes various leftist movements, he has been building his legislative machinery. The Pact is joined by related movements such as the Green Alliance Party, the Ecologist Party, Comunes, MAIS, among others. But there are also others a little further away who are located in the Center Right and Right of the political spectrum. In this last group, the Colombian Liberal Party, the Conservative Party and the U Party stand out.

This coalition, so diverse and represented in bureaucratic positions, has brought several frictions. However, what is striking is that the internal struggle seems to come more from the closest movements. Recently, the Green Alliance Party has expressed serious doubts and rejection of the Political Reform that the Government seeks to pass. This has generated accusations from the PV and the Historical Pact. People who supported the same president together in the campaign, today seem to be on the verge of leaving the Government.

Also read: Colombia: release of young protesters detained in 2021 revives prison crisis debate

However, today the majorities of the government represent 77 of 108 positions in the Senate and 146 of the 188 in the Chamber. The Green Alliance Party barely has 8 and 15 in the Chambers, so Petro would still have enough votes. But, now he would govern only with the traditional parties and away from his agenda, since most of the center parties would declare independence. This could give greater relevance to the votes and ideas of the Liberals (13/33), Conservatives (15/27) and the U (10/16).

The Points in Contention

There are several articles that have been rejected by politicians from the Green party, but 3 are the ones that have aroused internal struggles.

1. Closed Lists. The new reform would force the parties to present closed lists in the elections for Congress, assemblies and councils, which would force voters to choose the party and not the candidate that most appeals to them. In this way, the politicians who head these lists (designated by the same parties) will have greater chances of being elected, and the lower the politician's name is, the lower his chances will be.

2. Immediate reelection. Perhaps the most criticized point, but one that was knocked down in the Chamber, was that of a possible re-election of congressmen in 2026. This paragraph says that while the changes of this reform are carried out, the current legislators would have the transitory benefit of maintaining for 2026 the same positions they held in the last elections. However, several politicians warned that, by voting for this article, they would be committing malfeasance (voting for their own cause).

3. Congressmen in the Executive. Another criticism of the current project is that the Reform would allow congressmen to be elected to hold positions in the Government. Move from the legislative to the executive in a simple way. This measure is normal in countries with a parliamentary regime, since it is the parliamentarians themselves who choose the axis of government and their cabinet (the majority, legislators). However, today in Colombia you must resign from a position numerous months in advance, if you want to move on to another.
Among the critics, many voices believe that this law would go against the separation of powers, it would even be a mechanism for the Executive to obtain support from the Legislative.

The Government accuses the congressmen within the coalition of sabotaging the entire reform. They insist that the points in question can be modified later before the entire reform is approved. Additionally, they claim that they are part of the Government, and their support must be clear.

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