Colombia’s Conservative party to investigate its own members for endorsing of President Santos

Colombia's Supreme Court in session. (Photo: Punto de Vista)

The Conservative Party has slammed 29 of their Congressman for endorsing Santos’ reelection campaign, rather than maintaining party loyalty, saying they would start an investigation against the errant members, reported Colombia’s media.

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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 Democratic Center (Centro Democrático – CD) candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.

However, 29 Conservative Party Congressmen threw their support behind incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos’ reelection campaign, according to Colombia’s newspaper El Espectador.

MORE: 40 conservative congressmen support re-election of President Santos

A house divided, but its not the first time

During the 2010 presidential election race, 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.

MORE: 50 Conservatives desert Sanin for Santos

At the time and after the election no action was taken to legally censure against the 50 conservatives.

Accusations begin against congressmen

Miguel Ceballos, ex-vice Minister of the Interior, told El Espectador, “the public announcement made by senators and representatives, on the 28th of May 2014, in open support of the candidacy of President Juan Manuel Santos, goes against norms.”

Stated in the letter was the support given to Zuluaga by the party, signed by the President of the Party, Omar Yepes and Presidential candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez.

MORE: New conservative alliance sees Zuluaga flip-flop on Colombia’s peace talks

Since no presidential candidates received more than 50% of the total vote in the first round of Presidential elections, a second round is mandated by law, to be contested between Oscar Ivan Zuluaga and Juan Manuel Santos on 15 June.

Legal prohibitions

Article 107 of the 1991 Colombian Constitution states, “in no case can citizens be permitted to be a part of more than one party or political movement with a legal entity,” and “whoever participates in primaries of a particular political party or movement cannot register for another in the same electoral process.”

Conservative Party statutes also prohibit affiliation with other parties, leading to potential sanctions by the party’s oversight committee, according to Bucaramanga-based newspaper Vanguardia Liberal.

Prominent congressmen are under investigation by the party for their endorsement including long-time Senators Roberto Gerlein and Efrain Cepeda.

Penalties for dual partisanship can include facing party sanctions, in addition to being kicked out of both the party and an administrative position for not following party loyalties.


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