With only six weeks before the deadline, the pressure on members of the
Álvaro Uribe administration to resign and start their campaign for
either Congress of the Presidency, is growing. The resign of the two
deputy Ministers of Interior and Justice seems to be just the beginning.
Members of the Executive that earlier were tipped as possible Presidential candidates are Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias (Conservative Party), Enviroment Minister Juan Lozano (Cambio Radical), Finance Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga and most importantl, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos.
Juan Lozano is in the least comfortable position. As minister he’s been rather invisible and the leader of cambio Radical, German Vargas Lleras, has already started a tour through Colombia to promote himself as possible new President. The two deputy Ministers that announced the irresignation Tuesday both are from Cambio Radical.
Depite the promise of Interior and Justice Minister that Cambio Radical will stay in the coalition, the visible rift between the party and the government is getting bigger and bigger; it was Cambio Radical that made the 2010 re-election of Uribe impossible and so paving they way for their own leader Vargas Lleras.
Lozano won’t stand a chance against his own boss and, despite his own desire to run for the Presidency, may as well stay within the cabinet, but show himself more.
Conservative Andres Felipe Arias was already called by members of his party to resign, just like party member Carlos Holguín did earlier. They want the young Minister to be the Conservatives’ candidate. Arias himself always denied aspirations for the Presidency or Congress until Thursday, when he — in and interview with RCN — announced he will soon resign and make himself available for the elections.
“Mini-Uribe” does keep his tone down. He doesn’t want to criticize his current boss, President Uribe, too much, until it is certain he won’t be allowed to run for the 2010 elections.
Finance Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga was considered one of the most successful ministers in the Uribe administration. WAS, but the pyramid scandals hit the country, the economy saw a serious economic slowdown and rumors said he and President Uribe increasingly became agitated about the other.
The lack of motivation as Minister and the shine he lost as Financial Wonder may make the Minister decide to take the safe route and seek election into the Senate.
The most prominent of all cabinet members with Presidential aspirations is Juan Manuel Santos, the hawk within the government and responsible for great successes (operation Jaque), great scandals (numerous human rights abuses by the armed forces) and great discomfort (his continuous attacks on neighboring President Hugo Chávez).
The Partido de la U Minister msut be in limbo though. He’s been proven the right hand of Uribe and his departure could nearly limp the current administration. His party has also made a deal with German Vargas Lleras’ Cambio Radical that the two should present one candidate only — a fight still to be fought, while Vargas Lleras has taken a head start.
Eitherway, it’s speculating what will happen with the coalition, but all will be clear in six weeks. The criticism on the administration will grow stronger as the opposition will be joined by parties whose own political interest surpasses that of the coalition.
The beginning of the end of what is widely considered one of Colombia’s most successful administrations seem to have begun.