A political reform proposed by the Colombian government to reduce excessive power of top government officials, made an exception that is particularly favorable for the vice-president’s assumed ambition to run for president in 2018.
Political leaders from both opposition and coalition warned on Thursday that vice president German Vargas is benefiting from a tiny clause that exempts him from stepping down one year before elections are held if an official seeks to be elected in that poll.
Vargas, an ambitious politician from one of Bogota’s most powerful political dynasties, is widely rumored to seek to be elected to the country’s highest office. The proposed legal term for top officials seeks to reduce these officials’ ability to abuse public funds for their personal political ambitions.
Good side of the law
Bad side of the law
Potential presidential hopefuls not pleased
Leaders from the Democratic Pole and Liberal Party along with the Conservative Party have stated their dissatisfaction with the curious clause that allows only the vice president of the republic to stay in office while seeking election.
“I think that the exception should apply to all who exercise public functions or none. The rules for the vice president shouldn’t be distinct from other officials,” El Espectador quoted Clara Lppez, president of the opposition Democratic Pole party as saying.
“Usually the constitutional norm generates equality so that what is imposed on one has to be imposed on another,” said Horacio Serpa, president of the Liberal Party, who said to expect Congress to remove the exception before approving the reform.
Political news site La Silla Vacia reported that the balance of power reform presented last week did not just exempt Vargas, but at the same time limited the electoral possibilities of elected lawmakers like Serpa and Lopez, who have both run in previous presidential elections.
Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas, Education Minister Gina Parody and Planning Department director Simon Gaviria, who reportedly have also been rumored to be interested to dtay a term in the presidential palace, would in order to aspire to must resign in 2017. Vargas could stay in office until three weeks after election day.
Judicial branch also not pleased
Another part of the reform to meet skepticism was a government proposal to create a “Super Court” to serve as supervisor of Colombia’s current highest courts and watchdog. This revolt of judicial responsibilities reportedly has caused concern among the country’s judges.
The proposed court would be above all other bodies and have the power to pursue criminal, disciplinary, and fiscal action against the Prosecutor General, Inspector General, Comptroller, and members of judicial bodies like the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and the State Council.
The balance of power reform is going to prevent a Colombian president from running a second term like current President Juan Manuel Santos and his predecessor Alvaro Uribe successfully aspired. Instead, the government wants to extend a presidential period to five years, disconnecting the presidential from the congressional elections. The bill will allow sitting congressman to act as ministers, ambassadors, and run for mayoral elections.
Congress is expected to vote on the definitive reform text next week.
- El articulito para Vargas Lleras (La Silla Vacia)
- Rechazo generalizado a ‘mico’ que favorece al vicepresidente (El Esepctador)
- Reforma política beneficiaría de manera directa y concreta a Vargas Lleras (El Espectador)