President Ivan Duque said Sunday that Colombia’s voters made clear they are “fed up with corruption,” despite a failing referendum to curb the phenomenon.
The referendum had been promoted by Duque, a coalition of centrist and leftist parties, and social organizations, but came some 450,000 votes short to obligate Congress to adopt specific measures.
But “disregarding the results, it is clear that Colombia cannot stand more corruption. The 11 million Colombians who voted, who took to the polls, sent a resounding message of rejection of the constant plundering of public funds,” said Duque.
The president used his first provisional address to the nation to reiterate earlier calls for unity, and urged Congress to approve his own proposals to curb corruption.
The fight against corruption has no political color, party or ideology. All must take part: the private sector, the government, political organizations and citizens.
President Ivan Duque
Duque’s Democratic Center party and its controversial leader, former President Alvaro Uribe, campaigned against the “Deceitful Referendum” they supported until winning the presidential elections earlier this year.
The president’s provisional speech was his first opportunity to address the country as head of state and to appease the opposition that obtained more votes in the referendum than Duque did in the election.
We consulted society and society spoke: no more corruption! The fight against corruption is not a one-day struggle and it won’t disappear today. We will continue fighting with a joint destiny in Congress, in education, in the administration, and in the field of values. Together we will construct the future Colombia deserves.
President Ivan Duque
Duque wasn’t the only one who failed to see the failed referendum as an electoral defeat; the promoters of the proposed anti-corruption measures celebrated obtaining the most votes ever cast in the country’s electoral history.
“Thank you, Colombia. Today we all won,” tweeted former Senator Claudia Lopez, who had been leading the initiative to hold a referendum since last year.