Colombia’s Senate on Tuesday failed to dismiss President Ivan Duque‘s objections to his country’s war crimes tribunal after weeks of tensions.
Forty-seven of 81 senators voted to reject the president’s objections to the statutory law that defines the powers of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).
According to far-right Senate president Ernesto Macias, 94 senators were supposed to vote and the provisional pro-peace coalition needed 48 votes were necessary for a majority.
Senators Ana Maria Castañeda of Radical Change and Maritza Martinez of the U Party were expected to vote against Duque’s objections with their parties, but reportedly left the floor just before the vote.
The failed vote followed two days of agonized debates between Duque’s minority coalition and a provisional “pro-peace” coalition of parties from the left to right.
Macias said the vote would be repeated on Wednesday, giving the opposition and the center right voting block another chance to reject Duque’s controversial decisions.
U Party senator Roy Barreras accused the government of having offered bribes to lawmakers to prevent a successful vote that would force the president to sign off on the JEP’s statutory law.
The Senate’s failure to effectively vote on a matter as important as the country’s transitional justice system embarrassed the lawmakers and witnesses, many of whom left immediately after the failed vote.
The failed vote is particularly damning for the moderate block of the Liberal Party, the U Party and Radical Change that joined forces earlier this year to form a moderate counterweight against Duque’s increasingly radical minority coalition.
The JEP, which began war crime investigations last year, has been opposed by the government and the United States, but can count on the support of Congress and the United Nations.
The transitional justice system, which also includes a Truth Commission, is expected to provide justice to the country’s 8.5 million victims of the armed conflict after decades of virtual impunity.