Colombia’s ruling political group, the U Party, selected Senator Roy Barreras to serve as Senate President, local media reported Wednesday.
Barreras, elected by 16 votes to opponent Jorge Eduardo Gechem’s 10, denied the contest had been an intra-party struggle between supporters of President Juan Manuel Santos and his predecessor Alvaro Uribe.
Shortly after his election, Barreras met with reporters and denied allegations that he had betrayed Uribe. These accusations were based on Barreras’ declared support of Santos, despite tensions which have developed between the current and former president since Santos took office in June 2010.
“I have the deepest respect and admiration for President Uribe, furthermore, I love him dearly,” said Barreras according to newspaper El Espectador.
Barreras expressed his hope that ties between the two presidents could be restored.
“I think it is important that communication is restored between the former President Uribe and Santos for the good of all Colombians,” said Barreras.
Barreras was elected to the senate in March 2010. He is currently Co-Director and Spokesman of the U Party, Vice President of the Primary Senate Constitutional Commission, and also serves as President of the Peace Commission of the Congress.
Based on a previously established political pact, it was the U Party’s turn to select the Senate President.
Barreras will replace current Senate President Juan Manuel Corzo starting July 20.