Colombia’s President Ivan Duque called a meeting with the leaders of the opposition and both chambers of congress to jointly formulate anti-corruption policies and measures.
The directors of all political parties were also invited to the meeting that is set for Wednesday, the president said on the presidential website and Twitter.
He convocado el miércoles a la Casa de Nariño a promotores de #ConsultaAnticorrupción, a presidentes de Cámara y Senado, a presidentes de Partidos y sus voceros, para analizar juntos lo que viene en la agenda legislativa para enfrentar a los corruptos con toda la determinación.
— Iván Duque (@IvanDuque) August 27, 2018
A referendum that sought to obligate the president to implement seven specific measures to curb rampant corruption in Congress failed to obtain the minimum 33.3% turnout on Sunday, but left a major impact in the capital Bogota.
The anti-corruption forces received more votes than Duque did when he won the presidential election in June that were marred by electoral fraud allegations.
Rampant corruption costs Colombia’s tax payer some $17 billion a year, according to the comptroller general, and has increasingly turned Colombia’s voters against the country’s ruling class.
Duque, the heir of one of the dynasties that have ruled the country since Spanish colonization, won the elections in June, but only just.
His opponent, former guerrilla and former Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro, successfully played the anti-corruption card and obtained more votes than any leftist candidate ever.
Duque will now preside a meeting with the promoters of the referendum he personally endorsed and the political leaders who opposed the proposed measures, including his political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe.
The referendum proposals
- Three-term limit for senators and representatives
- All elected officials must make their assets public
- All elected officials must make their voting record public
- All levels of government must make their budgets public
- Those convicted of corruption must go to prison without parole options
- The State must nullify all contracts with individuals or companies convicted of corruption
- Reduce congressmen’s salary from 40 to 25 times the country’s minimum wage
The referendum has emboldened the opposition in Congress, particularly the centrist Green Alliance party that spearheaded the campaign.
Duque’s governing coalition, on the other hand, was already showing cracks over corruption investigation, and appears to have been weakened further by the vote.
Whether Duque will be more effective in combating corruption than his predecessor, former President Juan Manuel Santos, remains to be seen as Colombian politicians are infamous for making promises that are not kept.
Santos went as far as declaring a war on corruption, but ended up compromised by the Odebrecht bribery scandal that has disgraced many of Latin America’s governments, including that of Duque.