An Introduction To The Colombian Voting System

By bogotapost May 16, 2014

flag_of_ColombiaElection 101

The Colombian presidential elections, which are held every four years, will take place on May 25. Candidates must be Colombian by birth and over thirty years old.

If one candidate receives over half of the votes, the president will simply be elected in the first round of voting. If no one obtains an overall majority then the two candidates with the most votes will go head to head in a second round of voting (for the 2014 elections this will take place on June 15).

Meet the parties

From a total of ten active political parties in Colombia, eight are participating in the upcoming presidential elections; the other two, MIRA (Independent Movement of Absolute Renotation) and Citizen’s Option, are minority parties without a presidential candidate.

PDA-UP, an alliance of Patriotic Union and Alternative Democratic Pole, are represented by Clara López. These parties, founded in 1985 and 2005 respectively, are politically centre-left.

The Social Party of National Unity was formed in 2005 as an umbrella party for Alvaro Uribe supporters, and is known by the name U Party. Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, is representing the PSUN aiming to get reelected for a second term.

The Democratic Centre was launched in 2013 and takes a right wing stance. It is represented by Óscar Iván Zuluaga, party founder alongside former president Álvaro Uribe. Its slogan is “firm hand, warm heart”. The party opposes the current government negotiations with FARC among other Santos policies.

The Conservative Party is our next contender for the presidency headed by candidate Martha Lucía Ramírez. This party was formally established in 1849 and is therefore one of the oldest political parties in Colombian politics. Currently the Conservatives are the second largest power in Congress, and part of Santos’ coalition.

The Green Party was founded in 2005 and its top priorities include social justice, participatory democracy and respect for diversity, in order to improve social, economic and political struggles in Colombia and bring to an end the armed conflict. Its candidate to the presidency is Enrrique Peñalosa, former-mayor of Bogotá (1997-2000).