Thanks to a sudden change of mind of coalition party Cambio Radical,
Colombia’s Senate approved the government’s political reform proposal
that forces political parties to take responsibility for congressmen
with ties to illegal armed groups.
The bill wasn’t as extensive as the government initially wanted it to be, but still contains the so-called empty-seat amendment.
The law allows political parties only to replace congressmen in case of sickness or death. When for example a senator is suspended because of a pending criminal investigation his seat must remain empty, the government’s solution to the parapolitics scandal.
Dozens of congressmen, mostly of the Uribista coalition, are investigated or convicted for ties to far-right paramilitary groups.
Cambio Radical, who had Thursday said it would not vote in favor of the bill, because of the division within the Senate, received fierce critisism of opposition parties Polo Democratico and the Liberal Party for its sudden change of mind.