The leader of Colombia’s leftist opposition resigned after her party rejected her new job as Labor Minister in the government she was supposed to oppose.
The board of the Democratic Pole (PDA) party voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Clara Lopez as their president, following her appointment as the new Minister of Labor.
The appointment of Lopez was part of a broad cabinet reshuffle by President Juan Manuel Santos. He granted minister positions to both leading left and conservative opposition politicians. This put the parties in the peculiar position of opposing a cabinet in which they are now represented.
Santos also sought to diversify his cabinet by making appointments outside the traditional Bogota political elite.
In an interview with Caracol Radio, Lopez said she is very enthusiastic “about the challenge that Santos has handed me in the final straight of the peaces talks with FARC and in the opening of dialogues with ELN.”
However, voices within Polo were less enthusiastic. Senator Jorge Robledo was clear that “Clara Lopez should not accept the position. If she does she should resign as president of Polo, so that it can continue in opposition to Santos.”
Following a party meeting, it was announced that Lopez would resign.
“The national executive committee of Polo Democratico has accepted the resignation of President Clara Lopez Obregon and announces that her decision to take the position of minister will not compromise the opposition of this leftist party to the government.
Nonetheless, the PDA indicated that it will continue supporting the peace talks with FARC in Havana and the opening of negotiations with ELN.
Those in the Santos administration did welcome the appointment.
The Interior Minister, Juan Fernando Cristo, hailed the new cabinet as more representative of the country. “There are more women, there are more parties, there are more regions and there are indigenous people, and with this it demonstrates the necessary diversity for territorial peace.”
The President of the Senate, Luis Fernando Velasco, also approved of the cabinet reshuffle. “I like the ideological diversity that comes with the inclusion of Clara Lopez as minister of labor. This is an important indication of the need to forge a different country once the peace treaty has been signed.”