In spite of his opposition to not holding primaries during next year’s congressional elections, Colombian presidential hopeful Francisco Santos has decided to stay in the newly formed political party of former President Alvaro Uribe, reported newspaper El Espectador.
According to the daily, Santos — a cousin of sitting President Juan Manuel Santos and Colombia’s former vice-president — did not carry out his threat to abandon the Uribe Democratic Center party after a decision to hold the primaries at a party member conference instead.
Santos opposed the closed elections presumably because of his leading position in the polls that is less likely to materialize into his final candidacy when election is held behind closed doors.
As a compromise, Uribe proposed to hold a party convention on October 24 and 25 and let candidate lawmakers and other loyalists decide whether to push the primaries to March or to hold them separately as proposed by one of Santos’ remaining rivals within the party, former Finance Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, reported El Espectador.
To hold the primaries in March would mean extra work for the party that needs 400,000 signatures for electoral authorities to allow the primaries to be held during the congressional election.
“All three primary candidates have agreed to go to the convention,” Zuluage was quoted by the newspaper.
Uribe’s party has been plagued by scandals ever since the former president announced to form a new party that opposes the policies of his successor.
One presidential candidate was arrested on suspicion of ties to paramilitary groups. Two of Uribe’s three primary candidates are currently under criminal investigation over similar accusations.
Additionally, the senatorial candidacy of Jose Obdulio Gaviria, a cousin of Pablo Escobar and Uribe’s former presidential adviser, caused friction within the party over Gaviria’s aggressive response to external criticism.
Uribe, himself investigated over his alleged ties to paramilitary death squads, is running for senate.
- El acuerdo es que no hay acuerdo en el Uribe Centro Democrático (El Espectador)