Colombian Elections Show Little Change Other Than Names

Party of National Integration still not as popular as the null vote.

By Ken Kelley

Candidates from three right-wing parties allied with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe won a clear majority in both the Senate and lower house in elections held on March 14.  The results are considered to be a sign of how Colombians will vote on May 30 when they choose a successor to Uribe, who was recently barred from seeking a third term.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the emergence of the rightist Party of National Integration (PIN), which won 8 out of the 102 Senate seats, displacing the leftist Alternative Democratic Pole as the country’s fourth largest political party.  The victorious PIN candidates were mostly relatives of ex-lawmakers now in jail or under investigation for ties to right-wing paramilitary groups.  In a scandal that tarnished the previous Congress, 12 pro-Uribe legislators were jailed while another 80 are still under investigation.

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