This year’s presidential election is the major and the important event in the history of Colombia. This election is the very first election for the president after the 2016 peace deal. This peace deal has brought the end of the civil war between the Government and Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia- People’s Army after the 50 years of internal conflict; also this election saw the highest turnout of people, 53% of 36 million registered voters in 2 decades.
The newly elected president Ivan Duque is the youngest president in Colombia’s history and will take the responsibilities of office on 7thof August.
Ivan is an American educated economist who has a master in Public Policy Management from the University of Georgetown. He is a lawyer who worked at International American Development bank in Washington for a decade and has 4 years of political experience as a Senate and is a highly influential person.
Ivan Duque of Conservative Democratic Centre Party won May's first round with nearly 40% of votes and June's round of elections with 50% of votes against Leftist Gustavo Petro, the former government of Bogota. He received more than 10 millions of votes, the highest total for a candidate in second (June) round of Colombia's election.
Duque is good news for the economy of Colombia, being an orthodox economically; he vowed to cut down corporate tax rates, stop tax evasions and reduce uncertainties for foreign investors looking to enter Colombia's oil and mining sector. He promised to retrieve country's annual growth of GDP. He is pro-business, pro-USA and has a strong stance on security.
However, voters and opposition fear thatDuque could impact the peace deal implementation as the number of its provisions is still yet to be finalised. He promised to roll back parts of the peace deal. Duque represents many Colombian voters who were outragedby the compromise given to former rebels that include the reduced sentences for their confessed crimes. As a part of the deal, FARC was guaranteed 10 seats out of 268 within Colombia longest till 2026 instead of jail and other punishments. The deal initially failed to pass because the voters were outraged by its guaranteeing softer sentences to rebel.
Duque opposes the agreement and will take the tougher stance against corruption and FARC including the drug trafficking.
Many Colombians fear that the country will turn into the next Venezuela which is suffering from political turmoil, inflation, issues with peace and security and corruption.
The challenges which will be faced by him are:
1. uplifting the weak economy
2. Controlling the drug trafficking gang moved to once FARC controlled area.
3. An increase of Venezuelan migrants who have crossed the border for the search of food and work.
4. The tougher stance to modify peace deal will face high opposition from the Congress.
However, Duque promises to modify and improve the laws, cut down taxes and increase the security and fight against drug dealing and corruption. It will be interesting to see what outcomes will actually occur during his tenure in the office.
By: Shivangi Gupta.