Colombia’s Congress President and prominent member of coalition leader Partido de la U, Armando Benedetti, says the party of President Juan Manuel Santos and former President Alvaro Uribe is in crisis and faces a defeat in October’s local elections.
“The party is moving towards a fiasco. This will be a disaster. It’s the story of a foretold death,” the always-outspoken Senator told weekly Semana.
“It’s like the Holy Week and we already know how it is going to end: crucifixion,” the Partido de la U member said.
According to Benedetti, the crisis within his party is due to its brief existence and a lack of ideological direction. “There has been no leadership, but there has been vanity and a lack of political skill. The leadership is more concerned with its own political future than that of the party. It has distanced itself from the president” and has lost its key position within the coalition.
Benedetti blames party president Juan Lozano for counting too much on a political resurgence by former President Uribe who has been losing political power because of the alleged corruption and paramilitary ties of his aides, and his possible involvement in the illegal wiretapping of political opponents. “He [Lozano] thought he could be Uribe’s representative when people begin to miss Uribe,” Benedetti stated.
While he acknowledged that the party’s problems had not affected Santos’ popularity as president, Benedetti affirmed that because of its internal divide between supporters of Santos and Uribe and despite Uribe’s campaigning ahead of the local elections, the party is moving towards “a monumental defeat.”
“Tell me one city where the U has endorsed someone who definitely is going to win. There’s only one,” said Benedetti.
According to the Congress president, it is likely the party that broke the traditional powerhouses of the Liberal and Conservative Party will fall apart. “Uribe has already left and after Santos leaves, what will be left?”
“We will either have to modernize or seek a merger with another party like the Liberal Party. Of the 28 de la U Senators, 25 are of Liberal origin. The party can’t continue to be what is is today: a disaster.”