Colombia: a party system in free fall

As elections loom, the fragmentation of the country’s politics may produce a new consensus – or more polarization, says Christopher Sabatini

The World Today Published 1 April 2022 Updated 30 May 2022 3 minute READ

Here is a fact that helps to explain Colombia’s current political climate beyond the popular fascination with 1980s narco-gangsterism. In 2002, the combined share of the country’s two candidates in the first-round presidential elections totalled 84.8 per cent of the vote. By 2014, that had nearly halved to 44.9 per cent. Political parties and Colombia’s one-time centralizing party system are in a free fall and that trend has accelerated in the run up to the 2022 elections.

More than 20 presidential candidates took part in the March 13 interparty consultations held at the same time as congressional elections. The consultations serve as primaries, this year for three main political groupings: the moderate Hope Centre bloc, the more conservative Team Colombia and the leftist Historic Pact. The chosen candidates are due to compete in the first-round elections on May 29.

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