Colombia’s Congress has scrapped a reform that would have granted the vice-president with electoral benefits currently only enjoyed by the president, at the deputy head of state’s own request.
The proposal – announced to be void on Friday — had been part of the balance of power reforms that have now reached the seventh of eight rounds of debate in Congress.
A tiny clause contained within the proposed jurisdiction would have exempted Vice-President German Vargas (Radical Change) from stepping down one year before elections are held, as is currently the case for all government officials — with the sole exception of the President.
Vargas would have enjoyed the favorable benefits associated with remaining in office whilst simultaneously seeking electoral gain.
However, the idea was dropped after the VP specifically requested Congress did so.
Minister of the Presidency Nestor Humberto Martinez told Blu Radio that Vargas himself communicated that the privilege must belong uniquely to the president and nobody else.
“He wants to shows that other public servants who do not have the highest designation of head of state cannot have the privilege of the political jurisdiction of the president,” Martinez said on Friday.
The Colombian Constitution has since its inception included a special regime for the president given the level of position and role that he has.
Vargas, an ambitious politician from one of Bogota’s most powerful political dynasties, is widely rumored to seek to be elected to the country’s highest office when President Juan Manuel Santos steps down on August 7, 2018.
If this is true, the now-scrapped reform would have been no use to the politician, as he is after a step-up rather than re-election.
Congress previously debated a proposal to prevent Vargas running for presidency, with senators claiming his position as vice-president would give him advantage over other candidates.
The proposal was a response to a clause included in the balance of powers reforms that would disallow governors and mayors from running for president, while the vice-president was free to do so.
Democratic Pole Senator Alexander Lopez last month labeled Vargas’ role in the construction of new reforms part of a political campaign, which he claimed is an unfair advantage for the politician in a subsequent election.
“It is not good that the vice-president is executing his role whilst signing contracts and developing all kinds of political activities that give him an advantage over other candidates from other parties,” the Senator said.