After months of negotiations between Duque and party bosses, the president announced on Friday that Angel Custodio (U) will become his new labor minister and that Fernando Ruiz (CR) will become Health Minister.
The incorporation of the parties in the government broke up the center right voting bloc in Congress where the president can now count on a comfortable majority.
“Uribistas” lose stranglehold on power
Rodolfo Enrique Zea of the Conservative Party will become the new Agriculture Minister, giving also Duque’s original coalition partner increased representation in government at the cost of the president’s far-right Democratic Center (CD) party.
According to newspaper El Heraldo, Duque will free up one more ministry for CR to also allow a member of the powerful Char clan to enter government.
The CD, however, will remain in control over key ministries like that of the Interior, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Defense.
Duque’s reshuffling severely reduces the control of his political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe, over Duque’s government.
This could lead to tensions with the “Uribistas,” who have been keen on concentrating as much power as possible around Duque’s political patron and the CD’s unchallenged leader.
Opponents and supporters of peace now both in government
The U Party could also see increased tensions as some of its most senior members in Congress are among the most vociferous supporters of an ongoing peace process with the FARC.
The CD has opposed peace with the now-demobilized guerrillas since before negotiations began in 2012. The government has been criticized for its failure to implement the 2016 peace deal.
So far, the power-sharing agreements appear to seek increased governability for Duque whose initial minority coalition has barely been able to push legislation through congress.
Whether the agreement between Duque and his new coalition parties also included policy shifts is unclear.