Colombia’s Social Party of National Unity, locally called the Party of the U, has been the lead actor on the country’s political stage, having the largest representation in both of the country’s chambers of congress and winning the last three presidential elections. However with Santos’ approval ratings reaching historic lows, the party’s supremacy is now in jeopardy.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has seen his approval rating dip as low as 13% in national polls, and two of the party’s proposed presidential candidatesSenators Musa Besaile and Bernardo Elías, were accused of corruption in the infamous Odebrecht case. They are being accused of receiving bribes from the contractor.
The party has also lost some of its best presidential candidates, as politicians increasingly attempt to distance themselves from Santos. Roy Barreras, a presumed candidate, now has indicated that he will pursue a seat in the senate, and Juan Carlos Pinzón is no longer interested in representing the party after disagreements with the country’s peace accords with the FARC terrorist group.
The defections of Barreras and Pinzón, along with the senate corruption scandal, have left the party without a candidate for the forthcoming elections. This likely means that the party that has dominated Colombian politics for the last decade may, in fact, not run a candidate in the 2018 presidential election.
The presidential election is not the only problem plaguing the party. With with the deadline for candidacies for Colombia’s congress coming in three months, many congressional candidates have also abandoned the party. Those defections could become even worse if its two former presidential candidates, Musa Besaile and Bernardo Elías, who are currently being investigated by the Supreme Court of Justice for corruption, were to run again for the Senate next year.
Analysts expect that the party will eventually unite with another center-left party, most likely the country’s Liberal party, as the two are aligned on most policy issues.