Opposition to the recently re-elected Alejandro Ordoñez as Inspector General on Thursday claimed that the re-election process violated three articles of the constitution.
Senators Luis Carlos Avellaneda, Camilo Romero and Jorge Robledoa of the Senate’s opposition Democratic Alternative Pole party and members who voted in the Inspector Genral election, claimed that three points of the Colombian constitution were violated by Alejandro Ordoñez in the election process.
Ordoñez was re-elected on November 27 with an overwhelming majority to serve another four year term as Inspector General. The election resulted in claims of cronyism and of Ordoñez ‘’buying the election’’ by appointing jobs in his office to family members of senators and judges among other discrepancies.
A shortlist of three people was drawn up for the running of the inspector general position, although one of of the candidates, Maria Mercedez Lopez, dropped out of the running on the morning of the vote, expressing her concerns over the fairness of the election.
The first implicated breach of the constitution revolves around the fact that there were officially only two candidates in the running. The relevant law states ‘’The National Inspector General will be chosen… from a list made up of candidates selected from the President of the Republic, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the Council of State,’’ indicating that the election must include at least three candidates.
However, Senate President Roy Barreras defended the legitimacy of the election on this point since there were originally three candidates on the ballot. He argued that Lopez’ resignation was not processed in time for the election and she still received five votes after her resignation announcement, therefore making her a technically eligible candidate.
The second claim of misconduct implies that Ordoñez sacrificed his right to run for re-election due to the fact that he disobeyed article 126 of the constitution, stating that ‘’Public servants may not appoint employees to whom they are related to… Neither may they designate individuals related in like manner to public servants who are in a position to intervene in their designation.’’
Senator Avellaneda accused Ordoñez of going to the extreme of breaking this law. Ruth Maria Diaz Rueda, Javier Zapata and Jorge Mauricio Ruiz Burgos were all appointed magistrates and allegedly admitted to being family of Ordoñez. Semana Weekly also gave a list of six Senators who participated in the election, voted for Ordoñez and had family members appointed by the Inspector General.
Despite the familiar connections to Ordoñez, Senator Antonio Guerra de la Espriella, a spokesperson for the commission responsible for running preliminary checks on all candidates, determined that all three candidates were eligible.
On the day of the election 40 “obstructions” of voting members were in violation of at least one of five points: “having disciplinary investigations in the Inspector Generals office, criminal investigations in the Supreme Court Justice (in which the Inspector General must rule), having relatives with disciplinary investigations, and having relatives working in the Inspector General’s office.”
These 40 obstructions place Ordoñez “in violation of the rules of conflict of interest” and what Avellaneda claims is the constitutions third breached article in the election.
The plenary, however, rejected all the pending infractions for the election, stating that the conflict of interest must be “real and not hypothetical or random” and that to the benefit of the whole, Alejandro Ordoñez was permitted to run, defending that it was the Senate’s decision to elect Ordoñez and not the processes that control the election.