Former presidential candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez called on her Conservative Party to curb politicking while taking a critical position with respect to Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, in an interview with Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper on Tuesday.
In a recent interview with El Tiempo, Ramirez spoke about the ongoing peace process with the FARC and the state of her Conservative Party, which found itself divided during the 2014 presidential elections.
The divided Conservative Party, which currently finds itself split between those that supported the re-election of President Juan Manuel Santos, and Ramirez’s supporters who backed the Democratic Center opposition candidate, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, faced criticism by Ramirez, who stated her desire for an autonomous Conservative Party.
“What is most important for us, with regards to the current government and our allies in the [second round] elections, the Democratic Center, is that we have absolute independence and autonomy,” said the ex-presidential hopeful.
|“What is most important for us, with regards to the current government and our allies in the [second round] of elections, the Democratic Center, is that we have absolute independence and autonomy.”|
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Ramirez also told El Tiempo that she hoped her leadership would “strengthen and make the party attractive, and that the youth that accompanied [my campaign] want to continue with the party.”
The former presidential candidate stated that the more than seven million Colombians who voted for Zuluaga demanded more transparency in the peace negotiations, as well as more demands on the FARC – namely to stop recruiting children, stop attacks against civil society, and kidnappings.
Ramirez, who was invited to “work for peace” by President Santos for his campaign, claimed that it was simply a formality, as he did it via a press conference rather than through an invitation. She also stated the importance of the FARC abiding by her rules if she were to assist with the negotiations.
Finally, she stated her desire to be leader of the party while also criticizing the congressmen who called for her resignation from the Conservative Party, due to ideological differences.
The official stance of the Conservative Party for the second-round of Presidential elections on June 15 was to follow first-round candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez in supporting Democratic Center (Centro Democrático – CD) candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.
However, 29 Conservative Party Congressmen threw their support behind incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos’ re-election campaign, according to Colombia’s newspaper El Espectador.
This year was not the first time the party split, as the 2010 presidential election race witnessed a similar situation. The two presidential candidates for the Conservatives, Noemi Sanin and Andres Felipe Arias, divided the party between their two factions. Sanin was the official candidate in the first round in 2010, but during the elections, 50 Conservatives threw their support behind Santos.