Marta Lucia Ramirez is a prominent politician and the Conservative Party candidate for Colombia’s presidential election in May.
The Bogota-born politician has been active in her country’s politics since the early 1990s.In 2002, Ramirez became just the second woman in Latin American history to ever be appointed Minister of Defense.
A lawyer by trade, Ramirez has an extensive private and public sector background and a history of climbing professional ladders. Her career began in 1975 at the legal office of Banking Superintendence.
Three years later, she became the director of Central Bank Control.
She got her start in politics in 1991 when she was named Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, a position she held for two years.
In 1993, Ramirez returned to the private sector to become CEO of her own company, Marta Lucia Ramirez de Rincon and Associates. From 1997-1998 she was the Executive President of Colombia Gas Investment SA Invercolsa.
In 2002, she became Colombia’s ambassador to France but returned home after the election of Alvaro Uribe in order to helm her historic position as Minister of Defense.
In 2006, Ramirez assumed her first elected office after securing the fourth highest vote as a Senate candidate for the powerful Social National Unity Party largely due to her Bogota roots where she received nearly half of her total votes. Yet three years later, Ramirez’s election was annulled due to violations of Colombian electoral law. Ramirez was working for the State six months prior to the election, which is not allowed.
However, by then the politician had already given up her seat to prepare for the 2010 presidential elections.
Unlike Cambio Radical leader German Vargas, Ramirez did not lose the loyalty of her former boss and became one of the most noted allies of the Democratic Center (Centro Democratico – CD), a political movement formed by Uribe-loyalists in 2012. The CD aims to restore the political powerbase of the former President who increasingly grew isolated over corruption scandals and his strained relations with his successor Juan Manuel Santos.