“False Positives” video Friday links
Mar 182010

Here’s how the results of Sunday’s legislative elections look, with nearly all ballots counted. The numbers don’t yet total up to the total number of legislators in each house, because the counting is not complete.

It appears that pro-Uribe parties will continue to have a very solid majority in both houses of Congress. Opposition and non-aligned parties’ share will remain about the same as they did in 2006.

A key part of the government coalition is the National Integration Party (PIN), many of whose members are related to, or from the same political groupings of, legislators imprisoned for ties to paramilitary groups. The PIN party, says Colombia’s Semana newsmagazine, was “designed in jail.” However, the La Silla Vacía website notes, several other parties had candidates suspected of ties to organized crime and armed groups, and most of them won.

For the first time, two leaders of Colombia’s non-governmental human rights movement did well, both as candidates of the leftist Polo Democrático party. Iván Cepeda of the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes was elected to the Congress, and Gloria Flórez of Asociación Minga was elected to the Andean Parliament.

Senate (102 members; 94% of ballots counted) (Source)

Pro-Government 58

La U 27 (20 in 2006) – the party headed by President Uribe’s former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos, the front-runner in polling for the May 30 presidential elections.
Conservative Party 23 (18 in 2006) – the Conservatives also held a presidential primary pitting former ambassador and minister Noemí Sanín against former agriculture minister Andrés Felipe Arias (known as “Uribito” for his loyalty to the President). The final result is not yet known.
PIN 8 - the party most associated with the “para-politicians.”

Opposition 26

Liberal Party (center-left) 18 (18 in 2006)
olo Democrático (left) 8 (10 in 2006) – the Polo lost seats in part because of internal infighting, and in part due to the unpopularity of Bogotá’s current mayor, Samuel Moreno.

Other 15

Cambio Radical (center-right) 8 (15 in 2006) – the party of right-wing politician Germán Vargas Lleras, part of the pro-Uribe coalition until Vargas Lleras broke away in early 2009. Many members of Cambio Radical defected to “La U.”
Green Party (center-left)
– the party of three popular former Bogotá mayors, Antanas Mockus, Enrique Peñalosa and Luis Eduardo Garzón. The Greens also held a presidential primary on Sunday, which Mockus won.
MIRA (evangelical) 2

Chamber of Representatives (166 members; 90% of ballots counted) (Source)

Pro-Government 101

La U 49 (30 in 2006)
Conservatives 37 (29 in 2006)
PIN 14
Alas Equipo 1 (8 in 2006) – a small party many of whose members were caught up in the “para-politics” scandal.

Opposition 39

Liberals (center-left) 34 (35 in 2006)
Polo Democrático (left) 5 (10 in 2006)

Other 24

Cambio Radical (center-right) 15 (20 in 2006)
Green Party (center-left) 3
Apertura Liberal 2 – tied to DMG, a failed pyramid scheme
Unidad Liberal (regional / Huila department) 2
MIRA (evangelical) 1

Indigenous Social Alliance 1 – allied with center-left former Medellín mayor Sergio Fajardo, whose movement made a surprisingly weak showing.

11 Responses to “2010-2014 Congress”

  1. Timothee Says:

    “A key part of the government coalition is the National Integration Party (PIN), many of whose members are related to, or from the same political groupings of, legislators imprisoned for ties to paramilitary groups. ”

    If there’s no doubt that the PIN was created from the Picota’s carcel, how can you say that it is a key part of the coalition?

  2. lfm Says:

    Lord knows that I’m no fan of the Green Party. Granted, the three were good (even perhaps, very good) majors of Bogota, but I’ve never wanted any of them for President. (Well, I lie. I voted for “Lucho” in 2002 when I thought he was a rock-ribbed trade-unionist. I don’t regret that vote, but it’s been downhill ever since.) Anyway, the point is that, warts and all, the picks of the Green Party seem to me to be rather gains for the opposition as opposed to some undefinable “other.”

    From that thin reed, I’m gonna hang a lot of wishful thinking: the elections were pretty much a wash for everybody. El Polo lost three seats, that can’t be good, but it is offset by two facts. 1. The gains of the Green Party if you count them as “opposition,” compensate for this. 2. Jaime Dussan is out and probably some more unsavory members. Good shakeout.

    So, I don’t think that for el Polo this is the kind of disaster that some people claim. Further, there are two further things to solace from: 1. El Polo is still alive. Just the fact that a left-wing party in Colombia, other than the Communist Party, has not self-combusted after three electoral cycles is a most remarkable thing. I can’t remember something similar. Left-wing infighting is a perennial feature in Colombia, but this time it is not leading to dissolution (so far…). 2. I just came back from Bogota and I have the vague feeling that Samuel Moreno might turn things around. Before you burst out laughing, let me explain. For the record, I can’t stand the guy. I think he is one of the worst mistakes el Polo has made. He should have never been left anywhere close a job like major of Bogota. But sometimes even a shady politician can do some good. (Well, don’t ask me about Uribe, OK?) What I’m hearing is that he has a good chance of pulling off his new public transportation system. He bit the bullet with the strike and cut a deal that might make it happen. If he does (a big if) he will leave behind an important reform of Bogota’s mass-transit, a reform that will leave quite a mark. Of course, it’s going to be a flawed reform. (Something tells me that he himself must be profiting big time from it…) But given Bogota’s god-awful bus system (the non-Transmilenio part), any change is likely to be memorable. So, who knows? Maybe those of us who have been thinking of Moreno as this huge albatross hanging around el Polo’s neck may have to swallow our words. That would be a sweet thing to swallow.

  3. Colombian Elections Round Up « Zein Times Says:

    [...] 2010-2014 Congress [...]

  4. Patrick Says:

    Seems to have been widespread fraud in Valle del Cauca department, mainly benefitting PIN and Partido de la U:


  5. Alvaro Hurtado Says:

    Uribe will likely accept any and all political supporters with open arms, regardless of their judicial records or suspected associations, but one might always hope that the next administration will decide to keep PIN out of the governing coalition, though that might be a little too much wishful thinking at least for the time being. Still, for better or for worse, stranger things have happened in Colombia from time to time.

    LFM has a good point. The Green Party might not be left-wing but I think it is fair to at least tentatively consider them as part of the opposition, until and unless their behavior demonstrates otherwise.

    I agree, this isn’t an unqualified loss for the PDA since their ability to survive and keep the bulk of their voters is always a good thing, but the party does show some troubling signs of stagnation that might limit its further growth. The possibility of losing Bogotá, regardless of the long term benefits of Samuel Moreno’s transit reforms, could make things worse by the next election cycle.

  6. Alvaro Hurtado Says:

    Oh, I almost forgot…I’m glad to see Iván Cepeda elected and hope he does a good job to represent the interests of the state’s victims without forgetting those of other forms of violence.

    It’s too bad none of my other picks made it though, the Andean Parliament notwithstanding.

  7. Camilla Says:

    Polo’s losses wouldn’t have anything to do with its platform, would it? Seems to me coddling terrorists isn’t all that popular in Colombia, popular as it is with cafe society in Europe and among the academic types in the states.

  8. lfm Says:

    Camilla’s analysis would have been razor-sharp IF informed at all by the facts. Maybe in some alternate universe it is correct.

    1. The losses aren’t that big, as already noticed.
    2. The people that, by Camilla’s standards, coddle terrorists did quite well. Piedad Cordoba did well, Ivan Cepeda did well, Jorge Robledo did very well. Of course, by Camilla’s standards anyone who has ever been less than 50 miles away from an armed actor coddles terrorists… unless that armed actor is a chainsaw-wielding paramilitary, in which case Camilla will say that this is just fair game.

  9. Adam Isacson Says:

    For more on the “who’s opposition, who’s ‘other’” issue, see Semana’s article on the makeup of the new Congress, published Sunday:


    They put the Greens in the “other” column, like I do, but put Cambio Radical in the opposition.

  10. Alvaro Hurtado Says:

    Which is curious, since Cambio Radical is more or less just as right-wing as any of Uribe’s current coalition partners, in policy terms, except that its leader actively opposed the possibility of a second reelection and struck out on his own for this campaign season.

  11. Gregorio Says:

    Q: If there’s no doubt that the PIN was created from the Picota’s carcel, how can you say that it is a key part of the coalition?

    A: PIN is a key part of the coalition because without it, the pro-government coalition does not have a majority.

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