After public outcry and a strong twitter campaign demanding televised debates featuring all five of Colombia’s presidential candidates, the first of three nightly debates will kick off Wednesday evening, less than a week before citizens take to the polls.
One of Colombia’s most tweeted hashtags on Twitter last week was #DebatePresidencialYa or “Presidential Debate Now:” a call for a public political discourse after it seemed that there would be no televised debate featuring all five presidential hopefuls prior to Sunday’s upcoming elections.
One of the main factors halting major media sources from scheduling these debates was anticipated absence of President Juan Manuel Santos and possibly Green Alliance (Alianza Verde – AV) party candidate Enrique Peñalosa. While there have been many debates throughout the country over the past month, Santos has yet to appear at one, and Peñalosa has remained absent for most.
However Santos ceded Sunday that he would participate in televised debates prior to May 25, when Colombians go to the polls.
There will be a televised debate every day for the next three days on three separate Colombian channels. All five candidates will be present during these debates.
Wednesday’s debate will take place at 7:30PM on Colombia’s governmental “Señal Institutional” channel.
Thursday’s debate will take place at 7PM Colombia’s RCN channel.
And Friday’s debate will take place at 9PM on Colombia’s Caracol channel.
Each debate will feature President Santos, former Bogota Mayor Peñalosa, Democratic Center (Centro Democratico – CD) candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, Democratic Pole (Polo Democratico – PD) candidate Clara Lopez, and Conservative Party candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez.
If the debates are not mired down by fighting over recent scandals engulfing Zuluaga and Santos, themes to watch for will be ongoing peace talks between the government and the FARC rebel group, education reform, health care reform, and judicial reform.
If no candidate can gain more than 50% of the vote on Sunday, a second round of elections will be held June 15 as a run off between the two candidates who secure the most votes during the first round.
- Este miércoles empieza el debate presidencial en televisión (VanGuardia)
- Canales Caracol y RCN confirman debates con los 5 candidatos a la Presidencia (Pulzo)
- Programación y programas (Señal Institutional)