The name of the new political party formed by controversial former president Alvaro Uribe and his supporters falsely implies that the party is centrist rather than right-wing, claimed a rival politician on Monday.
The new party, Centro Democratico — shortened from its original title Puro Centro Democratico — is gathering momentum in Colombia. Centro Democratico is composed of those who have aligned themselves with the hardline ex-president over the country’s current president, Juan Manuel Santos.
However, some politicians like Green Party representative Alfonso Prada believe that Uribe is misleading the people.
“I would [send a message] to him [Uribe] and to [his supporters] that they will not win the people [over] with centrist names. I think they are to the right in Colombia and so they should be called [as such],” said the representative.
Uribe himself, who is widely expected to run for the senate in 2014, has not officially declared his intent. According to local media the decision on whether he will run will be made at a party meeting on January 31.
“We all hope that President Uribe tops the list for the Senate. I have repeatedly said I believe it would be best for the country,” said Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, one of Uribe’s former ministers, and one of the leaders of the new emerging party.
Meanwhile other parties in Colombia have begun positioning themselves in relation to the new party, which has developed out of the feud between Santos and Uribe. Puro Democratico, although they have yet to create an official party agenda, is expected to be to the right of the Santos-led U Party.
The Conservative party, who has often allied with the U Party, expressed a willingness to receive Uribe supporters into their party but have said they will put forward their usual party lists.
The U Party was formed in 2005 by Santos to provide congressional support for Uribe during his second, 2006-2010 term. Santos and the party won the 2010 congressional and presidential elections while promising to continue Uribe’s policies. Since then, Santos and Uribe have grown increasingly apart and the former president is now Santos’ most vocal critic.
In November, the U Party officially announced that Uribe was no longer a member of the party.