Colombia installs new Congress

While Colombia celebrated its 200 years of independence from Spanish rule, the country’s congress swore in 102 senators, 166 representatives and elected a new president.

With the inauguration of the parliamentarians, the country now has a Congress with a “Santinista” majority as the “coalition of national unity” of President-elect Juan Manuel Santos succeeds eight years of “Uribista” majority.

The majority in both houses is made up of “Uribista” parties Partido de la U, Conservative Party, Cambio Radical and until recently the largest party in the opposition, the Liberal Party. 80% of Congress takes part in the coalition.

Because of the Liberal Party’s decision to join the coalition and take part in the government of Santos, Socialist party Polo Democratico is now leading the minority opposition.

Partido de la U-senator Armando Benedetti was chosen by the new Senate as Congress President with what the general secretary of the Senate called a “historic” majority of 101 of 102 votes.

In a speech before the newly installed parliamentarians, outgoing President Alvaro Uribe praised his two governments’ “Democratic Security” policy that dramatically decreased the country’s homicide rate and pushed letfist rebels away from economically important areas, “but there is a long road ahead to consolidate it.”

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