Presidential elections in Colombia: an opportunity for the promotion of peace and democracy

Since last year, people have taken the streets to call for basic social rights in Colombia. The presidential elections on May 29 will be key in deciding the future of this country. SOLIDAR network monitors the state of social rights in Colombia. To know more about their work, read the 2022 Economic and Social Right Report on Colombia here.

On Sunday 29th of May, the presidential elections for Colombia will take place and Colombian citizens will be able to vote for the President and Vice-President. The winner must obtain at least 51% of the total votes; otherwise, a second round will take place on the 19th of June with the two candidates who obtained most of the votes in the first round. There are three strong candidacies leading the current polls:  

  • Gustavo Petro, with an estimated support of the 40% of voting intention, representing “Coalición Pacto Histórico” and with a large experience in the Congress;  

  • Federico (Fico) Gutierrez, with an estimated support of the 24% of voting intention, representing “Equipo por Colombia” and former mayor of Medellín; 

  • Rodolfo Hernandez, with an estimated support of the 18% of the voting intention, representing “Liga de Gobernantes Anticorrupción” and also former mayor of Bucaramanga.  

These estimations can certainly vary, especially considering that according to the electoral law, it is not allowed to publish any survey in the week prior to the elections, which makes more difficult to have a clear picture of the outcome. What is it clear, however, is that these elections will be a milestone for the future of Colombia. In April 2021, the protests against the tax initiative proposed by the President Iván Duque promoted a movement of citizens calling for basic economic and social rights, which was violently silenced by the government. These protests were preceded by an environment of persecution for Human Right Defenders and community leaders, as well as different measures to limit civic and democratic space, using in most cases the pandemic as an excuse. In addition, the impact of Covid-19 highlighted the shortcomings of labour and education rights, and most importantly in that context, the lack of a universal and quality health care system. 

SOLIDAR Network is actively working in Colombia, supporting the advocacy work of local and national organisations towards the promotion of economic and social rights. In February 2022, they launched a monitoring report focusing on environmental challenges, sustainable growth and employment and governance, peace, security and stability. The report also includes concrete recommendations for the European Union (EU), one of the key stakeholders of SOLIDAR Network, on each of these thematic areas. This report has already been shared with representatives from the European Delegation and some Member States, aiming to strengthening our collaboration and constructive dialogue towards sustainable development.  

SOLIDAR Network asks for a transparent electoral process, and we are looking forward to advocating for an open civic space as a precondition for any democratic government. 


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