Because of the recent arrests and accusations the Senate is practically paralyzed. Everytime a new senator is arrested, the lawmakers’ moral drops and the legislative agenda stays untouched.The only parties who are not involved in the scandal (yet) are the centerleft Pólo Democratico Alternativo and the small MIRA party. All other parties have senators suspected or even jailed for parapolitics.All four of Colombian President’s Álvaro Uribe’s party, Colombia Democrática can no longer function as senator. Three of them are in jail and one, the President’s cousin Mario Uribe is currently awaiting a decision of the General Prosecution if he also should await trial in jail.The past months not a week has gone by without the imprisonment of yet another Colombian Senator. This week alone two senators were arrested. 51 senators are now being investigated. 29 are in jail. The Colombian Senate counts 102 seats.The arrested senators are suspected in involvement in 300.000 crimes, already confessed by paramilitary leaders. The crimes involve murders, abductions, rapes, disappearances and extortions.Paramilitary leaders have confessed how they were in close contact with leaders of many of the political parties. Deals were made, the paramilitary say, about secret support for political campaigns of Senators. The paramilitary were able to intimidate voters to support the candidate they backed.With each new arrest the discussion of the legitimacy of the current Congress arises. President Uribe has spoken against the idea of organizing new elections to “cleanse” the legislation. He wants Justice to continue bringing criminal Senators to court and let the remaining Senators do their legislative work.The Colombian Senate will discuss its crisis Wednesday.
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