Following a disappointing performance in the May 30 presidential elections, Colombia’s Conservative Party is in disarray as its two most prominent members, Andres Felipe Arias and failed presidential candidate Noemi Sanin, trade accusations in public.
Sanin, who became the party’s presidential candidate after defeating Arias in a heavily contested primary, told her fellow party member to “Be a man” and accused him of being a sore loser, during a debate Tuesday morning on LaFM Radio.
Sanin also accused Arias of showing two faces in the lead-up to the presidential election, one in which he “wore a Conservative Party T-shirt while supporting the candidacy” of Sanin’s rival, Partido de la U’s Juan Manuel Santos.
Following his defeat in the Conservative Party primaries, Arias and 50 other prominent party members jumped ship and offered their support to Santos in his bid for the presidency.
Arias, a staunch “Uribista” and former agriculture minister under President Alvaro Uribe, responded by saying that “insulting and groping people is not a way to conduct politics,” adding that he “feels like a winner” and “invites the Conservatives to put an end to the internal divisions.”
Sanin went on to blast Arias for the controversial agricultural subsidies program he ran while minister, calling it corrupt, and saying that it completely backfired, causing more farmers to become unemployed.
Arias is currently under investigation for corruption in the granting of agriculture subsidies under the AIS program. He and current Agricultural Minister Andres Fernandez allegedly granted government agricultural funds to certain companies and affluent Colombian families, when the program was intended to help poor farmers.
Arias defended his handling of the program, arguing that he is waiting for the final investigation by Colombian authorities, and that there will be no evidence of corruption.
The continued public feud between the two follows Sanin’s defeat in the May 30 election, which saw her win a mere 6% of the national vote. Shortly after the results were tallied, Conservative Party representatives announced that they will seek to install Arias as the new leader of their party.