Ex-President Andres Pastrana bashed the Conservative Party‘s “historic disaster” in the October 30 local elections, in which the party lost 1,000 council positions and was reduced to just one governorship, according to the former president.
“This is one of the worst defeats of the collective in its history,” Pastrana said in an interview with Caracol Radio. “It is an electoral disaster.”
The former Colombian head of state explained that the Conservative Party has become synonymous with corruption, with too many high-profile party leaders being involved in high-profile scandals.
In a separate interview with RCN Radio, Pastrana lamented that “[the Conservatives] lost the big cities. We’ve become little more than a rural association.”
The ex-president said the party, which once shared equal power with their rival Liberal Party, is in a need of a resurgence. “You have to open it. Convene new, young, different people, that the board of directors assume this historic responsibility,” said the former president. “The mass conservative is asking to open the doors for a ‘conservative spring’.”
Pastrana, who was president from 1998-2002, also strongly criticized his predecessor, ex-President Alvaro Uribe, for endorsing political candidates, most of whom lost in Sunday’s elections.
“A candidate that Uribe touched was a candidate that lost. Uribe was the great loser. In Bogota the vote against [mayoral candidate Enrique] Peñalosa was a vote against Uribe,” Pastrana said, referring to the only candidate backed by the Uribe and Conservative Party, who came in second in the race.
He went on to attack Uribe for the rampant corruption during his administration, including scandals in notaries, the government’s mining institute, and an agricultural scandal in which $25 million in subsidies that was intended for poor, rural farmers was given to powerful and wealthy families as well as many Uribe supporters.
Regarding mining, Pastrana said that on average “administrations give out between 100 and 120 operation licenses, no more than 150 in four years. Under the government of Uribe more than 7,000. It became a piñata and now we are going to know who got to keep the candy.”