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Regional Director meets with President Iván Duque during his visit to Colombia

September 14, 2018
Colombia President Iván Duque (left) with International IDEA Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Daniel Zovatto.

The Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of International IDEA, Daniel Zovatto, participated, as a special guest of the National Electoral Council (CNE) and the National Registry of Colombia, in the popular consultation on anti-corruption measures that took place on August 26.

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The popular consultation was an initiative of the former presidential candidate, Sergio Fajardo, former Senator Claudia López, and the Chamber’s Representative, Angélica Lozano. This was the first popular consultation that took place in the country since 1991 when this mechanism of direct democracy was incorporated into the Constitution of that year. To become binding, the consultation, which had seven questions (i. reduction of the salary of congresspeople and high officials; ii. prohibition of corrupt to rehire with the State; iii. more transparency in contracting with specifications; iv. public hearings to know the expenditure of entities; v. need of the congresspeople to be accountable annually about their attendance and how they vote; vi. make public the properties and unjustified income of elected politicians and extinguish its domain, and vii. establish a maximum of three periods in public corporations) was required to achieve the support of at least one-third part of the electoral roll, or 12,140,342 votes. However, despite the high number of votes obtained (11,671,420), which were well above the levels expected by the vast majority of analysts, the consultation did not receive the required number of votes to be legally binding.

In addition to participating in the electoral observation mission, the Regional Director carried out an intense agenda of meetings, from August 24 to 26, with the main electoral authorities and the executive branch, including: the President of the Republic, Iván Duque; the Minister of the Interior, Nancy Patricia Gutiérrez; the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of multilateral issues, Adriana Mejía; the President of the CNE, Yolima Carrillo and the Judge Felipe García E.; and the National Registrar, Juan Carlos Galindo Vácha, as well as academics and collaborators of International IDEA.

During the meeting with President Iván Duque, the Regional Director analysed the state of democracy in the region, in light of the main challenges. Likewise, he also explored the possibility of Colombia joining as a member state of International IDEA together with the possibility that the Institute could provide technical support towards the process of political-electoral reform currently underway in the Congress.

Moreover, during his mission, the Regional Director held several bilateral meetings with representatives of the electoral bodies of Argentina, Bolivia, Panama and the Dominican Republic (who were in Bogotá participating in the Observation Mission of the Popular Consultation of Anti-Corruption) and with whom he addressed issues that are part of the bilateral agendas currently underway by the regional program of International IDEA with these electoral bodies.

The Mission fully complied with the fixed objectives to: 1) establish collaborative relations with the new authorities of the Colombian government as well as with the electoral authorities of the country at the highest level; 2) strengthen and expand partnerships with different local strategic partners; and 3) strengthen the visibility and institutional positioning of International IDEA in Colombia in the field of political-electoral reform.

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