Colombia’s congress on Tuesday elected a controversial new Comptroller General amid a series of accusations of fraud and illegal endorsements.
Former Inspector General Edgardo Maya was elected Comptroller General in an anonymous two-chamber vote in Congress. The controversial judicial heavyweight received 175 votes. His competitor Gilberto Rendon received 38 and Carlos Ardila zero. Fifty-three of 266 congressmen abstained.
Maya was elected after a legislative turn-around that initially favored former House Representative and National Electoral Council magistrate Gilberto Rondon, a close ally of Liberal Party chief Cesar Gaviria.
However last week, President Juan Manuel Santos informally expressed his favorability for Maya at a closed political event. The president’s informal endorsement was echoed by his U Party and members of Radical Change, the party of vice-President German Vargas.
Santos reported “push” generated controversy as public officials are not allowed to influence elections by endorsing shortlist candidates. The move infuriated Liberal Party leader Cesar Gaviria who foresaw support for his candidate disappear.
Following the presidential push, Conservative and Liberal and U Party legislators switched camp, in spite of revelations Maya wasn’t legally eligible because he had served on the electoral council less than a year before the election, a legal requirement.
The Comptroller General-elect served as Inspector General between 2001 and 2009 and is the half-brother of an imprisoned former paramilitary broker with ties to US-based miner Drummond.
Nevertheless, Rondon had it worse in the week ahead of the election after news website Las 2 Orillas revealed possible ties between the former lawmaker and a founder of the now-defunct Cali Cartel earlier this century.
Rondon received his final blow just hours before the election when national TV network RCN accused the candidate of having visited one of the founders of the infamous drug cartel in prison.
The only party that maintained its open support for Rondon was Uribe’s Democratic Center. The former head of state has a political power block on the right of the political spectrum and has long opposed Santos’ policies and political power. While Santos’ political power hails mostly from the capital Bogota, Uribe’s political powerhouse is dispersed over rural areas.
Opposition parties Democratic Pole and MIRA abstained from voting.
- Gilberto Rondón sí habría tenido relación con Gilberto Rodríguez O (RCN News)
- Gilberto Rondón y Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela: ¿una relación con cuentas pendientes? (Las 2 Orillas)
- Archivan proceso contra el exprocurador general Edgardo José Maya Villazón (La FM)
- El cuestionado ternado de la Corte Suprema para la Contraloría (El Tiempo)
- Edgardo Maya promete no ser un contralor ‘de bolsillo’ para el Gobierno (El Espectador)