Colombia’s house suspends debates on government reforms

(Image: House of Representatives)

Colombia’s far-right successfully convinced the House of Representatives to suspend all debates and votes on reforms proposed by the government of President Gustavo Petro.

Representative Jose Jaime Uscategui of the far-right Democratic Center party had requested the suspension “as a response to the corruption scandals and the president’s incendiary discourse against the National Electoral Council” (CNE).

The House agreed to suspend the “debate and vote on all the ordinary and statutory law, and legislative bill projects” put forth by the Petro administration.

The suspension threatens to sink the government’s pension reform bill, which was supposed to be debated on Thursday and must be approved before June 20 for it to become law.

Uscategui’s initiative comes amid increasing tensions between the government of Colombia’s first leftist president and the country’s far-right.

According to Petro, the latest Democratic Center initiative in Congress is part of a broader far-right “lawfare” campaign to oust his government through a “silent coup.”

The president’s coalition in Congress has lost three of its most prominent senators because opposition lawyers successfully challenged their elections.

Inspector General Margarita Cabello suspended Family Subsidy Superintendent Luis Guillermo Perez for 12 years because he had asked pension funds to invest in the impoverished city of Buenaventura.

The Inspector General’s Office previously suspended Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva for revoking a contract to produce passports amid suspicions of corruption.

Last but not least, Democratic Center magistrate Alvaro Hernan Prada asked his colleagues at the CNE to investigate alleged irregularities in Petro’s 2022 campaign.

According to Uscategui, these initiatives are no attempted silent coup, but legitimate ways to hold the Petro administration and its congressional coalition to account.

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