Colombia’s House of Representatives passed 17 of the 18 chapters of
the government’s proposed political reform that is to prevent scandals
as that of ‘parapolitics’.
The reform was approved way after midnight, following a session of no less than 10 hours
The House approved the government’s “empty seat” proposal that disallows political parties to replace congressmen who are being criminally investigated. The “empty seat” solution is the administration’s main tool to combat the influence of illegal armed groups in the election of congressmen.
Another bill that was approved, but caused controversy in Congress, was the one that allows Congressmen to leave their party and join a different party to secure their own re-election. The bill allows a congressman to leave his party, but keep his seat and salary.
The complete package of reforms nearly didn’t make it when all female congressmen massively left the session and threatened to boycot the vote, following the refusal of their male collegues to force parties to have at least 30 percent women on their electoral lists. The women returned to their seats and, expect for those of the opposition, voted in favor of the reform, despite their political loss.