Colombia: the future of corruption is put to the vote

This Sunday, August 26, Colombia will decide if the 7 points of the Anti-Corruption Consultation will be implemented

Colombia: the future of corruption is put to the vote

The ambitious project took place because, according to the senators of Alianza Verde (Green Alliance), the proposals that make up the consultation had already been put to discussion in the Senate, but had not prospered in the trial of the congressmen. In this order of ideas, they decided to launch a strenuous collection of signatures to carry out the popular consultation.

Leer en español: Colombia: el futuro de la corrupción se somete a votación

What is a Popular Consultation?

The popular consultation in Colombia is a mechanism of participation created by Law 134 of 1994. Once the threshold has been met, the decision will be mandatory when the question put to the vote has obtained the affirmative vote of half plus one of the valid suffrages.

"It will be understood that there has been a mandatory decision of the people, when the question that has been submitted has obtained the affirmative vote of half plus one of the valid suffrages, provided that not less than one third of the electors have participated", explains article 55 of Law 134 of 1994.

In this sense, if the 7 points of the Anti-Corruption Consultation are approved by the Colombians at the polls, the Congress of the Republic will have a maximum term of one year to process and approve the laws that were established through the popular mandate. However, if they do not approve them during that time, President Iván Duque has the faculty and the duty to issue them by decree.

Collection of signatures and process

The collection of signatures for the Anticurruption Consultation began in January of last year and collected more than four million signatures, so it passed to the Senate, which had to give its approval. In the Congress debate, some senators such as Roy Barreras of the U Party and Juan Manuel Galán of the Liberal party explained their concerns regarding the cost of conducting this consultation.

Also read: The most corrupt politicians in Latin America

The Democratic Center Party expressed its concern that the referendum could electorally favor the then presidential candidate Sergio Fajardo, for which they pledged to vote favorably only if it was held after the presidential elections. The political party of the Green Alliance accepted these conditions and postponed the debate.

Finally, on June 5, 2018, the Senate in its entirety voted in favor of holding the Anticorruption Consultation. With 84 votes in favor and none against, the Senate gave the endorsement to carry out the consultation. This will be held on August 26, 2018 and must participate, at least, 13 million people to be valid and mandatory compliance mandates that get half plus one of the votes for the yes.

What will be the questions?

The questions that will appear on the Colombians' card are the following:

  • Question 1. Reduce the salary of congressmen and senior state officials

Do you approve to reduce the salary of the congressmen from 40 to 25 Minimum Monthly Legal Wages, setting a ceiling of 25 SMLMV as maximum monthly remuneration of the congressmen and high officials of the State indicated in Article 197 of the Political Constitution?

  • Question 2. Jail to corrupt people and prohibit them from contracting with the State again

Do you approve that people convicted of corruption and crimes against the public administration must comply with the totality of sentences in jail, without possibilities of special detention, and that the State may unilaterally terminate contracts with them and with legal persons, without any compensation for the contractor or the possibility of contracting with the State again?

  • Question 3. Mandatory transparent procurement throughout the country

Do you approve to establish the obligation to all public and territorial entities to use standard bidding terms, which reduce the manipulation of qualifying and ponderable requirements and the hiring of an abnormally low number of bidders, in all types of contracts with public resources?

  • Question 4. Public budgets with participation of citizens

Do you approve of establishing the obligation to hold public hearings so that the citizens and the corporates decide the breakdown and prioritization of the investment budget of the Nation, the departments and the municipalities, as well as in the rendering of accounts on their hiring and execution?

  • Question 5. Congress members must be accountable for their attendance, voting, and management

Do you approve to oblige congressmen and other corporations to render accounts annually about their attendance, initiatives presented, votes, debates, management of particular interests or lobbyists, projects, and public investments that they have managed and public positions for which they have presented?

  • Question 6. Make public the properties and unjustified income of elected politicians and extinguish the domain

Do you approve of forcing all elected by popular vote to make public to scrutiny of the citizenship their statements of assets, income, tax payments, and conflicts of interest, as a requirement to take office and exercise office; Incorporating the power to initiate ex officio criminal investigations and apply the domain extinction to the chosen one and its potential network of frontmen as their spouse, permanent companion, to their relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity, second of affinity and first civil, already their partners in law or in fact?

  • Question 7. Maximum 3 periods in public corporations

Do you approve to establish a limit of maximum three periods to be elected and to exercise in the same corporation of popular election as the Senate of the Republic, the House of Representatives, the Departmental Assemblies, the Municipal Councils and the Local Administrative Boards?

False news around the Anti-Corruption Consultation

Something that has always accompanied this consultation has been misinformation. For example, that by lowering the salary of the congressmen, the minimum salary or the pension of the policemen will also be reduced.

For this reason, the website vencealcorrupto.com added a tab called "Fake News", where citizens can search for some of the lies and fake news that have been generated around this initiative.

LatinAmerican Post | Natalia Gómez
Translated from “Colombia: el futuro de la corrupción se somete a votación”

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