The new Colombian Congress could approve issues that were not previously considered thanks to the strength of some groups such as progressives in parliament.
Photo: Cesar Melgarejo
LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez
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On March 13, Colombians elected the 108 senators and 187 representatives to the Chamber, who will make up the full Congress for the period 2022-2016. To the surprise of many, the Historical Pact, a leftist coalition whose presidential candidate is Gustavo Petro, placed for the first time in the country's history a strong progressive representation with 41 seats in parliament (16 in the Senate and 25 in the House of Representatives). Representatives). However, there are several complaints of fraud and in the recount, there could be favorable changes for the alternatives.
However, even with this large vote, the leftist list does not manage to be a majority, since the Liberal Party alone managed to keep 47 seats, of which 15 are in the Upper House and 32 in the Lower House.
Even with this, great changes are observed in Congress with some right-wing parties such as the Democratic Center declining after losing several seats in both corporations, and with the arrival of new political forces such as the 16 seats of victims that will arrive in the Chamber of Representatives.
In this way, with the addition of other parties such as Mais, Aico, Comunes, and Fuerza Ciudadana, the left could be one of the most powerful forces facing what would be the Colombian legislature during the next four years.
With this reality, it is important to highlight, then, which initiatives that were not taken into account in the last four years or that presented considerable opposition could be developed with the new legislation. Thus, they will represent a change of forms and policies in Colombia.
To begin with, it is important to note that the arrival of the victims' representatives in Congress allows us to presume that the Peace Agreement signed between the national government and the former FARC guerrilla in 2016 will be an issue that will acquire greater importance.
It should be remembered that the Congress established in 2018 has not made much progress on this crucial issue for the country, since, of the 40 regulations that were to be studied, only five were approved. This will be an issue that, it is hoped, can be fully studied with the successful vote received by the left, which largely supports the Peace Agreements and their implementation for the growth, evolution, and progress of Colombia.
Political forces will also be measured in a debate that the left will surely raise: an agrarian reform based on the establishment of a new agroecological production system that is less extractivist (oil, coal, gas) and more aware of the social capacities of peasants. . In this way, benches such as the Pacto Histórico, Mais and Comunes will seek a way to move from imports to strengthening local work in sectors such as fishing, tourism and of course agriculture.
Although they will be opposed by parties such as the Centro Democrático or the Conservador, which still defend the extraction of natural resources as the main force of the Colombian economy, the Partido Liberal, if it turns the wheel towards the proposals of the left, could be decisive in this debate.
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This point largely depends on the candidate who wins the Presidency of Colombia. While Petro assures that he would do away with private pension funds to nationalize the pension system in Colombia, others like Federico Gutiérrez, with a right-wing leaning, assure that although pensions need improvements, private companies cannot be left aside in this "play".
Thus, if Petro establishes himself as the new president of the country, the left would go from being the opposition to being the government, so the pension reform as envisioned by the leader of this ideology could be possible. The truth is that it will not be easy because they would have to measure themselves against forces such as the Conservatives and Uribismo, sharp critics of this proposal.
This issue has been one of the most sensitive in recent years since it was precisely the one that triggered the national strike in 2021. Something that Colombians do not want is legislation to put more taxes on the middle class, but instead, equitably, the people or group of people who have the most income are the ones who give the most money to the treasury. This is a reality that the most popular sectors represented by the left cry out for. Will this political group be able to stand up to the traditional parties that have been considered in tune with the policies of President Iván Duque (on the right) concerning this issue?
Wage Regulation In Congress
Lastly, this may be one of the initiatives with the greatest chance of approval, bearing in mind that precisely Colombia Humana, Comunes, Mais, and a large part of the Partido Verde caucus are the ones that have fought this fight as opposition in the current parliament. Reducing the salaries and vacations of congressmen has been a subject of much controversy and controversy in the country, but now the Pacto Histórico with perhaps the annexation of some members of the Partido Liberal, will surely try to lead.
How Are Some Benches?
Lastly, it is important to highlight that this new Congress promises to define the creation or strengthening of caucuses such as the feminist one, which will surely be defended by women such as María José Pizarro of the PActo Histórico, or even Corina Hernández Palomino, who occupies a place in history by being the first woman from San Basilio de Palenque in the Colombian parliament.
Otherwise, it will be the women who will lead the 'pro-life' bench, which will be one of the issues to take into account in this new legislature. Sara Castellanos, from the Partido Liberal, or others of a conservative nature such as Paola Holguín (Centro Democrático) or someone from Mira/Colombia Justa y Libres like Beatriz Ríos will be the ones to lead this movement in Congress.
Finally, animals will also be a topic of conversation thanks to the growth of what will be the animal support group that will surely be led by the former Bogotá councilor and now senator of the Alianza Verde, Andrea Padilla.