The divide between former President Alvaro Uribe and current President Juan Manuel Santos widened further Tuesday, following Sunday’s local elections and Santos’ decision to appoint Liberal Party leader and Uribe-critic Rafael Pardo as Labor Minister.
Uribe made his strongest criticism yet of Santos, calling the current president a hypocrite and hostile to Uribe’s policies.
The former president made the comments in response to Santos’ decision to appoint the Liberal Party leader as the country’s new labor minister.
Uribe said in response to the decision by his former ally, “the national government’s actions are hypocritical and lack popular support.”
The former president called the decision to appoint Pardo as the country’s new labor minister a “signal of hostility against Uribism.”
In 2005 Pardo defected from the then “Uribista” Cambio Radical party to cross the floor and join the opposition Liberal Party. Pardo had supported Uribe for two years but decided to leave due to his conflicting views on paramilitarism and his opposition to the proposed referendum that sought Uribe’s re-election.
Uribe claims that the appointment of Pardo proves that Santos had been supporting election candidates, despite claiming that government was not specifically supporting any candidates in Sunday’s elections.
According to Santos, “the government said that they did not have candidates, but before the election the government announced the naming [of candidates] that shows total hostility towards us.”
Colombian senators have revealed their belief that, following the political changes, it is increasingly likely that Uribe will soon join the opposition party to the government. Senator Armando Benedetti claims that he has been warning for nearly two months of the possibility that the former president would join the opposition.
According to the senator, “everyone knows that in some way or another ex-president Uribe and President Santos have been growing apart.”
According to Colombia expert Adam Isacson, the results of Sunday’s election could mean the end of the alliance between Uribe and Santos, with Uribe potentially coming out as a major opposition figure to the government.
Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe lost a great deal of political influence in Sunday’s local elections, where candidates backed by Uribe lost in almost all major cities and the majority of departments.