On August 7, in the Plaza de Bolívar in the city of Bogotá, Iván Duque Márquez became the new president of the Colombian Republic
Undoubtedly, the incoming government – headed by President Iván Duque – will assume the guidence of Colombia after 8 years of agitated political debate, which has revolved around the signing and implementation of the Peace Agreements between the Colombian State and the FARC guerrilla. The implementation of the Agreement, the future of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the negotiations with the ELN, will be the most difficult battles that Duque's Government should give, if it wants to be faithful to the proposals he made during campaign. Among the initiatives, it is to derogate the JEP and substantially modify the Havana Agreements.
Leer en español: Los retos del nuevo Gobierno colombiano
However, Peacebuilding will be just one of the immense political challenges that Duque will face, since the legislative agenda of his Government will have to contain concrete proposals for discussions on which the country asks to solve with shouts. In the first place, President Duque and the Congressmen of the Democratic Center will have to carry out a Justice Reform. On this issue, the Government and its assembly must make changes to the judicial branch that has been involved in serious cases of corruption and is characterized by inefficiency. They must do so without losing credibility in the eyes of public opinion, especially because of the legal mess that today faces Senator Álvaro Uribe, leader of the Government party.
On the other hand, the pension system is another of the immense problems suffered by the Colombian population for quite some time now. Only a well-implemented pension reform will be able to get the country out of the imbroglio in terms of pensions. However, it is quite likely that the reform of the pension system will contain unpopular measures, such as increasing the pension age of workers. Therefore, President Duque must manage his political capital with great care if he wants to carry out this type of proposal.
In addition, the new Head of State will assume the need to face a new tax reform. After the change in the tax regime implemented by former President Santos, with measures as unpopular as the VAT increase (which undoubtedly affected the pocket of Colombians) it is possible that, if this reform resents the economy of the population, the president loses popularity.
Finally, another of the enormous challenges that the new governor will have to face is the political and electoral reform. There are complicated issues to which it is necessary to respond with a political reform; such as the electoral threshold, the shared lists of minority parties and the obligatory nature of closed lists, could harm small movements and favor large parties. The above is a battle that the government party must give in Congress.
In summary, these are the political challenges facing the new Government which, although it has a majority in the Congress of the Republic, will mean a political effort that is expected to come out well.
LatinAmerican Post | Sergio Arrieta