Colombia’s main opposition movement not allowed in next year’s local elections

Colombia’s electoral authority banned the movement of Gustavo Petro, the presidential runner-up who obtained 42% of the votes, from next year’s local elections.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) ruled that Petro’s political movement at the moment fails to meet the requirements to be recognized as a political party.

The decision is a major blow for the provocative social democrat who is also left without the state grants given to parties to finance their organizations.

Gustavo Petro has built a massive following after decades in politics.

This is where Colombia’s political system goes weird

The magistrates of the CNE are appointed by the political parties and is notoriously arbitrary.

Plans to make the electoral authority independent have failed amid resistance from the powerful dynasty politicians and political clans that control much of the country’s democratic political system.

Petro’s second place in the elections allowed him a senate seat, but his political movement “Humane Colombia”  is not recognized as any type of political organization, according to the CNE.

Did Colombia just ban the opposition?

According to newspaper El Espectador, six of the eight CNE magistrates agreed that Petro’s political movement may not become a party because it has not taken part in legislative elections.

The primaries that made President Ivan Duque and Petro the leaders of their movements and contendors in the presidential elections were in March, on the same day as the congressional elections.

Gustavo Petro on campaign (Image: Gustavo Petro)

Duque was endorsed by the hard-right Democratic Center Party of former President Alvaro Uribe, which is now the leading coalition party.

According to CH leader Alvaro Moises Ninco, Humane Colombia had yet to file a formal request to take part in next year’s elections.

The National Electoral Council reiterates its institutional commitment to the development of electoral processes under conditions of full guarantees.

National Electoral Council

The brief announcement made by the CNE failed to clarify if any political movement must first take part in either national or local legislative elections before receiving campaign funding.

Petro, whose anti-corruption campaigns resulted in the incarceration of dozens of corrupt congressmen and illegal political persecution practices, has had several encounters with Colombia’s notoriously corrupt state institutions.

The outspoken leftist was illegally removed from office when he was Mayor of Bogota and reinstated after intervention from the Organization of American States.

Duque appoints far-right ally as Colombia’s ambassador to OAS

Also, Santos absolved from Odebrecht bribery charges

An hour after giving Colombia’s democratic opposition a major blow, the CNE announced it had closed a corruption investigation against former President Juan Manuel Santos, whose campaign manager is in jail after admitting he used illegal campaign financing from disgraced Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht.

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