Santos coalition not worried after collective congressional hit

Posted on Mar 10 2014 - 11:08pm by Rico

Following a electoral beating for the coalition of President Juan Manuel Santos in Sunday’s congressional election, coalition partner Radical Change (Cambio Radical – CR) said they are not concerned over the coalition’s ability to pass laws in Congress.

Jose David Castellanos, general campaign coordinator for CR, expressed satisfaction after Sunday’s congressional elections saying that their party had achieved their goals despite losses for their larger coalition of National Unity that went from 75 to 66 seats in the 102-seat Senate following an even larger drop in national electoral support.

MORE: Santos Coalition Takes Beating In Colombia’s Congressional Election

“We did well in spite of us fighting the political machines of the other movements,” Castellanos told Colombia Reports.

The campaign manager said he did not think the seats gained by former President Alvaro Uribe’s successful Democratic Center party (Centro Democratico-CD) will pose a threat for the Santos coalition.

“Without a doubt, [the Democratic Center] had a very strong result, but it was not the result that they were hoping for because they were hoping for 30 seats. The National Unity coalition continues to have more in Congress.”

MORE: Alvaro Uribe, Clear Winner Of Colombia’s 2014 Congressional Election

After the preliminary seat decision, the National Unity coalition consisting of the presidents own U Party (Partido de la U), Conservative Party (Partido Conservador-PC), Radical Change, and the Liberal Party (Partido Liberal-PL) still maintained a majority of seats in both chambers of congress; though their super majority shrunk with many votes going to the “Uribista” party.

Castellanos did not see the loss of seats as an impediment moving forward.

“No, I do not believe that the … Santos parties will have problems with the loss of seats in congress,” said the CR campaign leader.

He hinted that the National Unity coalition will not stop trying to enlist new parties to join them in the future: a possible solution to the loss of votes.

MOREColombia’s 2014 congressional elections election results

“Right now it is very hasty to say [what will happen,] because politics is very dynamic and no one knows what type of coalitions are going to present themselves in the future. You have to give it space.”

Castellanos added that this July, before the new congressional term starts, will be the time to watch for new coalitions.

“[By the end of July] there could be a true coalition in the National Unity, but to predict this right now is very complicated.”

In terms of his own party, the general campaign director was positive, especially considering small growth in the Senate.

“It seems to me that the Radical Change party has a relevant enough representation. They were calling us a finished party before this, and we are showing that we will not just pass in the shadow, but rather we are obtaining between 9 and 10 seats in congress.”

The CR did pick up one more Senate seat after Sunday giving it 9 senators in total.

“It seems to me that this confirms the stregth of the party in spite of the fact that we had to dismiss 13 people that had criminal histories in the party.”

The CR also won one more seat in the House, growing from 15 to 16 representatives.

Overall, the CR, the party of Santos’ vice presidential pick German Vargas, expressed happiness after Sunday’s elections.

 ”It seems to me that these next legislators that are going to be in Congress for the next four years are going to be very positive because there will be a representation of all of the popular sectores of Colombia,” concluded Castellanos.


  • Interview with  Jose David Castellanos

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