A historic summit between President Duque and his political rivals took place at La Casa de Nariño yesterday to discuss the way forward on anti-corruption measures. The meeting included Senator Gustavo Petro, who ran for President against Duque in June, former president César Gaviria and promoters of the anti-corruption consulta that took place on Sunday.
Significantly, the meeting yesterday included FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño (also known as Timochenko) which suggested Duque’s softening stance towards the group. Duque had previously led the ‘No’ campaign against the peace accord with the former guerrilla group and, in inviting the FARC leader, Duque is showing his willingness to work across the aisle with members that his party don’t see eye to eye with.
Despite their former differences, Londoño lauded the summit as a “successful meeting between the political powers in the country”, having sat at the same table as staunch rival Álvaro Uribe for the historic occasion.
In addition to members of the different political parties, the Presidents of the House and Senate were also present. The newly installed Comptroller General Felipe Córdoba, Colombia’s top watchdog on corruption, and the Attorney General Néstor Humberto Martínez were also in attendance.
Although his mentor Uribe privately expressed reservations about the anti-corruption consulta—a public measure against corruption that failed to pass last Sunday— Duque himself publicly supported the vote and voted in the consulta himself.
As a result of the six-hour summit between the various parties, President Duque declared it as a matter of urgency to promote an anti-corruption agenda that included four bills that corresponded to four of the propositions on the consulta. He considered the renewed enthusiasm against corruption between members of different political stripes at the summit as an important step forward for the country.
“[H]ere what we see is a sense of patriotism by all to contribute to the great effort to defeat corruption and I think that today we have advanced greatly a legislative agenda that will bring Colombians great joy.” President Duque said.
It will now be in Congress’ hands as to whether the seven propositions that were included in the anti-corruption consulta will be passed through and they now have a deadline of December this year to decide on the matter. After a cordial summit of political rivals was convened yesterday, the chances of the propositions becoming law took an important step forward today to becoming a reality.