Uribe’s opposition a gain for Colombia’s democracy by Colombia Reports

Editorial by Colombia Reports

The rift between Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and his predecessor Alvaro Uribe is a welcoming step in Colombia’s development as a democracy.

Colombia may almost always have officially been a democracy, but the quality of the country’s democracy has traditionally been very low when measuring along the lines of participation, representation, accountability, transparency and solidarity.

Add the fact that power struggles in Colombia have long gone hand in hand with violence, either through competition between political elites, the repression of opposition, or by violently trying to overthrow the establishment.

Colombia’s transition from an almost feudal system ruled by elites represented by two political parties to an actually functional democratic state is a work in progress and is long from being finished.

In order to reach a quality democracy, Colombia first had to break from a traditional two-party hegemony.

Before the 1991 constitution, Colombia was run, through pseudo-elections, by the Conservative and Liberal Party. Even though this hegemony was officially ended by the latest constitution and a number of armed opposition forces were included to the democratic process, it wasn’t until 2001, when Uribe came into the picture, that Colombia started breaking from its past.

First, Uribe broke from his Liberal Party to successfully run as an independent candidate, drawing support from several sectors in society and becoming Colombia’s first independent president.

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