Longtime opposition Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo has rejected an offer from the right-wing Democratic Center (Centro Democratico) party that would have made him president of the Colombian Senate, reported local media Wendnesday. The leftist Democratic Pole (Polo Democratico Alternativo — PDA) party leader clarified that he is not interested in the position, after two hardline senators from the Democratic Center, soon to be the largest opposition bloc in the Senate, voiced support for his ascension.
Democratic Center Senator-elects Paloma Valencia and Jose Obdulio Gaviria told W Radio that Robledo “has a form of politics with which we identify […] politics of ideas,” rather than the corrupt “mermelada” influence trading — wherein politicians receive large amounts of money for support and vote buying from the central government under the guise of legitimate projects — that both opposition parties have characterized as one of the key strategies of President Juan Manuel Santos‘s National Unity coalition.
“[Robledo] has a form of doing politics with which we identify.”
In an interview with Blu Radio, Robledo responded to the show of support by saying, “Our [the PDA’s] differences with Santos and the CD are enormous, something we have repeatedly established. The possibility of an alliance with the CD […] has no viability. If we agree with someone, then we agree with someone, if we don’t, we don’t. We’re not going to ally with somebody over one issue.”
“The possibility of an alliance with the Democratic Center […] has no viability. if we agree with someone, then we agree with someone. If we don’t, we don’t.
A rift formed in the PDA after first round presidential candidate Clara Lopez, whom Robledo fully endorsed, after she began to campaign in favor of the reelection of incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos. First-round presidential candidate for the PDA and key figure in Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ reelection campaign, Clara Lopez, claimed that prominent Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo had perpetrated acts of political bullying and persecution over her support of Santos.
Democratic Center founder, ex-President, and Senator-elect Alvaro Uribe Velez, retweeted a statement stating that Robledo was the “only democrat in the Colombian left.”
In a previous interview with Colombia Reports, Robledo stated his opposition to both Democratic Center candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga and Juan Manuel Santos, “The election of Juan Manuel Santos is very bad news for Colombia — just as bad as if Zuluaga won, because they are more similar than they are different,” signaling his opposition to the Democratic Center and Juan Manuel Santos well before talk of his possible Senate presidency.
Whether Robledo relies on Democratic Center support or not, the early peace offering is one of the first signs yet of the shifting dynamics of congressional politics. Opposition blocs in Congress have typically been comprised of leftist figures like Robledo.
The inclusion of a large right-wing opposition force following March’s congressional elections could find the Colombian left, outspoken critics of the Uribe government, joining with the Democratic Center in their shared opposition to various aspects of the Santos coalition’s agenda.
- Robledo rechaza propuesta de Centro Democrático de asumir Presidencia del Senado (Blu Radio)
- Centro Democrático apoyaría a Jorge Robledo para presidencia del Senado (W Radio)
- Interview with Jorge Enrique Robledo (Colombia Reports)