Conservative Party presidential candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez said Wednesday that she would not obey the National Electoral Council (CNE) if the government organization tried to nullify her candidacy as requested by her party leadership.
Ramirez took part in a presidential election debate at a Medellin university with fellow candidates Oscar Ivan Zuluaga and Clara Lopez, where was when she was pressed on her party’s leadership’s intention to nullify her candidacy for being too critical over ongoing peace talks with rebel group FARC.
Ramirez’ problems with the Conservative Party — which remains a part of his legislative governing coalition despite running its own presidential candidate — came to a boil last month when the incumbent-loyal Conservative Party president Efrain Cepeda asked the CNE to nullify Ramirez’ candidacy.
Since then, rumors have been running rampant over a schism within the Conservative party and the fate of Colombia’s first female defense minister’s presidential aspirations.
Debate moderator Sebastian Diaz asked Ramirez directly about these rumors, which was perhaps the most challenging question presented to any of the candidates Wednesday morning. The crowd of mostly university students responded with a unison “oooo” waiting for her response.
“The CNE cannot nullify my election as candidate [of the Conservative Party],” asserted the candidate.
“My candidacy is registered, it is supported by the Conservative Party and that is totally irreversible.”
Ramirez went on to say that she was elected fairly by a party convention to represent the Conservative movement and that President Santos is trying to manipulate the CNE to rule against her.
“Santos thinks he can do whatever he wants to maintain his power,” she said, claiming that just last night the incumbent tried to encourage the CNE to take action.
“Unfortunately a lot of the party supports Santos and his [corrupt regime],” said Ramirez, but the candidate assured the audience that she is not going to budge.
This, Ramirez’ strongest answer during the debate, solicited a loud applause from the audience.
- Presidential debate