The Conservative Party announced its intention to join the National Unity coalition supporting President Juan Manuel Santos, reported local media.
With the recently reelected President taking office on August 7, the Conservative Party is attempting to re-join Santos’ coalition in exchange for a ministerial position in his cabinet, reported national newspaper El Espectador on Wednesday.
The Conservative Party officially left the coalition in January of 2014 after posting their own candidate, Marta Lucia Ramirez, for the presidency, but just prior to the During the elections, 29 Conservative Party Congressmen threw their support behind incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos’ re-election campaign, according to Colombia’s newspaper El Espectador.
This prompted an investigation of specific party members, including prominent party members Efrain Cepeda and Roberto Gerlein. The congressmen were investigated by the party for violating its’ statutes, in addition to the party’s desire to take the case up to the Supreme Court.
MORE: Colombia’s Conservative party to investigate its own members for endorsing of President Santos
|“The majority of the Conservative Party wishes to be in coalition with the [Santos] government, we have a good feeling that the entire party – not only those who voted for the president – will join the Government coalition in a concrete manner.”|
It is not been confirmed whether this group now intending to rejoin the coalition would include the same 29 representatives.
Prominent Conservative Senator Efrain Cepeda stated after a meeting with Santos, “the majority of the Conservative Party wishes to be in coalition with the [Santos] government, we have a good feeling that the entire party – not only those who voted for the president – will join the Government coalition in a concrete manner,” according to El Espectador newspaper.
A divide in the Conservative Party however, may prevent this from occurring, as the party President Omar Yepes and first round presidential candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez both want to maintain the Conservative Party’s autonomy, both of whom endorsed Democratic Center (Centro Democrático — CD) candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga in the runoff elections held on 15 June.
Omar Yepes’ brother Arturo Yepes is on the other side of the conservative divide, and told reporters, “Better the Conservative Party [as a whole], rather than one part of each faction,” echoing the wishes of Marta Lucia Ramirez – perhaps in the opposite direction that she would wish.
Santos, previously scrambling for endorsements with his Democratic Center Party challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, is now experiencing the opposite effect as parties who endorsed Santos scramble to get into his cabinet.
The official stance of the Conservative Party for the second-round of Presidential elections on June 15 was to follow first-round candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez in supporting CD candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.
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Ramirez recently called for autonomy and independence from both the Santos government and their former CD allies in the second round, also stating that there was a necessity for unity in the party.
MORE: Former presidential candidate calls for autonomy in Colombia’s Conservative Party
This year was not the first time the party split, as the 2010 presidential election race witnessed a similar situation. The two presidential candidates for the Conservatives, Noemi Sanin and Andres Felipe Arias, divided the party between their two factions. Sanin was the official candidate in the first round in 2010, but during the elections, 50 Conservatives threw their support behind Santos.