One of Colombia’s most popular opposition politicians has lost his seat in Congress, due to an allegedly clashing contract as legal representative of a State entity called Corpovisionarios.
Antanas Mockus, Senator for the Green Alliance party, gained more than 537,000 votes in the 2017 elections, making him the second most voted senator in Colombia’s history. The first is Alvaro Uribe, former President and controversial founder of the Democratic Center party.
Out of respect for the citizens who trusted in me, I will use all possible legal remedies to defend the right to choose of those hundreds of thousands of citizens.
Antanas Mockus, Green Alliance Party
He also said, however that he respects the legal petition as legitimate exercise of scrutiny which is key to any democracy.
The Council of State has annulled his election to Congress, and there is technically no appeal process for this decision, but the Green Party will not the lose the seat – the next most voted politicians from the party will take it.
“I hope there can be comprehensive evaluations and an understanding of the beacon of light that the leadership of Antanas Mockus in Congress is for Colombian democracy.
We have a contradictory circumstance when a previous ruling had maintained the seat, we hope that this can be evaluated in full court and thus review all the implications that a decision of this order generates to democracy in Colombia.”
President of the Green Alliance Party Jorge Ospina
Many have come out in solidarity with Mockus, who remains among the country’s most popular politicians, from left wing leader Gustavo Petro to Alvaro Uribe himself.
The move was initiated by lawyer José Manuel Abushaibe, who has a questionable reputation, and nebulous political affiliation. He claims that he is acting on behalf of the Citizen’s Option party, and as a candidate for the Democratic Center Party.
In Abushaibe’s local La Guajira, he is known for representing politicians like Oneida Pinto, who was imprisoned for embezzlement and falsehood in public and private documents. He has also been close to the family of Samuel Santander Lopesierra, extradited in 2003 in for drug trafficking. On social media, Abuchaibe has posted about his admiration and friendship with Gomez, who was convicted of three murders.