Following a meeting with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos Tuesday morning, in which he promised to address their security concerns, U Party members said they would give him their full support.
The party announced its intention to speed up progress on two key government projects — justice system reform and the legal framework for peace — both of which will be voted on Tuesday afternoon.
U Party co-director Wilson Gomez said the bench had “no intention of sabotaging” the government’s legislative agenda. He said, “We simply wanted to draw attention to the issue of security for our members.”
He denied any suggestion that the former president Alvaro Uribe had directed his supporters to sabotage Santos’ plans: “The former president has never told anyone to disrupt plenary sessions – that would be very irresponsible and at no point was that our intention”.
Gomez accused the Liberal Party of “wrongly interpreting” the U Party’s walkout from two previous plenary sessions as an indication of a split in the coalition between Uribe and Santos supporters. He insisted security issues had been their sole concern, following a recent assassination attempt against party member Alveiro Vanegas.
During Tuesday’s meeting Santos promised a new protection program would be put in place by the Ministry of the Interior. The department is taking over responsibility for security from the now defunct DAS, the domestic intelligence agency dissolved by President Santos last week.