Colombia’s opposition called for protests on Wednesday to halt attempts by the coalition of far-right President Ivan Duque to postpone elections.
Leading opposition lawmakers called on their constituencies to take to the streets to an alleged coalition attempt to lobby support to postpone the elections until 2022.
Duque publicly said to step down in August next year, but his far-right Democratic Center party has been rallying support to postpone the vote, opposition House Representative Katherine Miranda said Wednesday.
The proposal to postpone the elections and let them coincide with local elections was initially coined by Gilberto Toro, the president of the National Federation of Municipalities.
Toro’s proposal has been made multiple times before and was dismissed until Miranda (Green Alliance) found lawmakers were lobbying support to present a constitutional amendment that would allow an extension of Duque’s term.
According to the representative, this amendment would weaken the checks and balances of power provided by the constitution. “It’s a coup!” the representative tweeted.
Congress cannot take away the sovereignty of the people and expand its mandate without asking the citizens.
House Representative Katherine Miranda
The centrist representative called on her constituents to take to the street, which was supported by opposition Senator Gustavo Petro, who plans to run for president next year.
“They are preparing to stage a coup,” Petro tweeted, adding that “this isn’t only countered in Congress. A coup is confronted in the streets by the mobilization of the people.”
Democratic social and political organizations, and labor unions — without partisanship — must coordinate plans of action for a mobilization of the people.
Senator Gustavo Petro
The call to protest was supported by Petro’s rivals of the “Coalition of Hope,” which is set to choose its own candidate for the 2022 elections, and supporters of the senator’s “Historic Pact.
The outrage with which the old machines intend to cancel the elections, destroying democracy, will have the following 3 responses:
1) We will demand the loss of investiture.
2) We will sink it in the First Commission
3). Citizens will mobilize in the streets and in 2022.
Senator Roy Barreras
Duque’s political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe, was able to illegally extend his time in office after ministers bribed lawmakers into voting in favor of a constitutional amendment.
Uribe’s second attempt was sunk by the Constitutional Court. Duque’s predecessor, former President Juan Manuel Santos, revoked the amendment after having secured his own reelection in 2014.