Colombia’s main opposition party, the Polo Democratico, on Wednesday said it will ask electoral authorities to determine President Juan Manuel Santos as a presidential candidate.
The socialist opposition party has no faith the president will keep his promise to obey electoral regulations applied to sitting presidents with reelection aspirations.
Santos said earlier this week he would comply with all regulations when he announced the formation of a team of top allies to prepare the “reelection of his peace policies.”
Polo president and former constitutional court justice Carlos Gaviria said at a forum that the administration on several occasions prevented the opposition from having a voice on ongoing issues. Additionally, the socialist leader said that “there is nothing more demonized in Colombia than being of the opposition.”
Fellow Polo politician Jaime Dussan rhetorically asked “what are the guarantees [for fair elections] if the government is already violating the rules of the constitution by preparing this campaign?”
To improve the checks and balances on the government and its coalition, the Polo demanded a seat on the National Electoral Council, the body responsible for the elections and their fairness.
Additionally, the socialists demand air time on public television that is also granted to coalition parties. According to Dussan, his party requested this in February already, but that the government “continues to study” the request three months later.
The Polo Democratico — while having only 6% of the seats in Congress — has traditionally performed well in presidential elections, but has not formed part of any government since its foundation in 2005.
Colombian weren’t able to run for reelection until in 2004 Congress passed a constitutional amendment allowing one president two terms. The amendment has since fallen out of grace after judicial authorities found out the bill would not have been passed without bribing of opposing lawmakers.