Colombia: Three issues to follow during the presidency of Iván Duque

The peace process, the economy and his position in the face of social struggles will determine the course of the government of the Colombian elected president

Colombia: Three issues to follow during the presidency of Iván Duque

The election of Iván Duque as president of Colombia supposes a turn in several aspects of politics. During the presidency of Juan Manuel Santos, the peace process with the FARC guerrilla was developed as the fundamental axis, and now, the arrival to power of a considerable opponent of the agreements can put the future of the country into question.

Leer en español: Colombia: Tres temas para seguir durante la presidencia de Iván Duque

The threat to the peace process may be the biggest question that the government of the incoming president brings, but not the only one. Regarding the economy, the rumors of the adoption of fracking as part of the country's energy policy, and the insistence with the so-called 'orange economy' promoted by the Democratic Center Party (Centro Democrático) candidate will dictate the course of the Colombian markets during its mandate.

Read also: The latest strategy to win voters: Presenting the Cabinet of Ministers

  1. The future of the peace process

The implementation of the peace agreements signed in 2016 by President Juan Manuel Santos has been more problematic than expected. Not only was it necessary to sign it and pass it through the congress with the public opinion against it, after the victory of the 'no' in the plebiscite that was going to determine its implementation, but it has also faced considerable challenges having entered into force.

The dissidence of the FARC is a source of concern for the public forces, since they continue to commit crimes in the rural regions of the country, in addition to the continuous operation of the drug trafficking mafias, which were expected to disappear after the implementation of the agreements. arguments of the new president of Colombia to oppose the agreements in their current condition.

Because of this, during his months as a candidate, Iván Duque has spoken repeatedly about the changes that must be made in terms of peace, a fundamental issue for the electorate. His most recent statements in this regard are still fierce in his disagreement with what was agreed in Havana, but he has already given up on his position of destroying the agreements, proposing instead to modify them.

"I have always said that it is not about destroying or tearing up agreements, but it is about making important changes to those things that affect the rule of law," Duque said in an interview with El Tiempo.

The future of peace in Colombia will undoubtedly be one of the most important issues to follow during the presidency of Iván Duque, since it is shown as one of the most radical changes that may arise as a result of his election. In addition, this will set the guidelines of the ongoing negotiation with the largest guerrilla group in the country today, the ELN.

  1. The economy: Extractive or orange?

The energy issue, fundamental to determine the economic future of the nation, was one of the central themes of the campaign that ends. The newly elected president has been criticized on numerous occasions for what has been perceived as a constant support to the current extractive economic model, with a high dependence on what at this moment remains the heart of the Colombian economy, mining and oil extraction.

His insistence on strengthening the oil sector, which he himself recognizes does not have to be the economic vocation of the country, has been criticized mainly for the environmental implications this entails.

However, in addition, Duque has been criticized his ambivalent position on the issue of fracking, which, although he has not explicitly promoted it, he has not ruled out altogether.

"Let's do the task first with conventional sources of hydrocarbons, reducing transportation costs, for example, and then we will go to the unconventional," said the now-elected president in debate before the National Association of Industrialists of Colombia, leaving the open door to the controversial method of oil extraction.

You may also be interested: Is fracking the most harmful form of energy production?

Regarding the promotion of exports and the diversification of the economy, Duque has championed the concept of the orange economy. This incorporates productive sectors around creativity, culture, services and technology, and Duque considers them fundamental to guarantee the growth of the country, independent of the cycles in the prices of commodities, which have conditioned the development of Latin America.

It will be interesting to see the evolution of the economy during Duque's government, because in spite of promoting the orange economy and the diversification of the economy, its attachment to the extractive model that currently defines the Colombian economy can attract attention.

  1. The social aspect: rights of sexual minorities

Iván Duque, despite his political alignment and the conservative cut of his party, still avoids establishing a strong position on the issue of the rights of the LGBT community. Both the marriage between people of the same sex, as the adoption by pairs of the same denomination were subjects that during these elections divided the candidates.

However, now President Iván Duque has avoided revealing much about his position on the issue, leaving many doubts about the agenda he will promote in social matters during his presidency.

In a debate organized by the magazine Semana, during the first round of the presidential elections, while all the candidates gave their support to the marriage of same-sex couples, Duque answered the question by responding that he supports 'the equality of patrimonial and civil rights', a statement that makes it difficult to clarify his position on the issue.

Therefore, the social side of the Duque government is still surrounded by questions, particularly around this issue, against which the president has remained elusive.

Latin American Post | Pedro Bernal

Translated from "Colombia: Tres temas para seguir durante la presidencia de Iván Duque"

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