Tuesday , March 21 2023

Duque and Uribe, a complex but addictive relationship


in short

President Uribe, after eight years of drought, has once again power and exercises in his splendor, not now in his head, but through one of his disciples, now president.

To the President's right Iván Duque the former president said Álvaro Uribe last Wednesday, at Casa de Nariño, in the presence of over 200 regional leaders of the Democratic Center. The concern of all visitors was the same: extending VAT to family basket products.

Uribe, the party leader who served as a platform for Duque, wanted the president to be the one to reach out and help calm down the spirits caused by the bill on funding because these leaders had to suffer the demands of the bases and the fear of being punished in polls, in municipal elections and governments next year.

As he did with trade unions and other parties, President Duque explained to them what he considered the benefits of the initiative and told them about the dialogue he had opened to seek consensus over the objections that had arisen.

The implicit message was overwhelming: there is ubiquity, no ducity, and the Democratic Center is the only party loyal to the president, even though he has rejected VAT on basic food, Uribe is the main guarantor of government and therefore power and influence have grown.

There was no political decline

The political country made calculations that Uribe was the one who would have put the presidential blouse on Duque on August 7, but preferred, although he had enough votes, that the Senate presidency would be occupied by another co-owner.

After several leaks at the end of July this year, the Supreme Court ordered the opening of an investigation against former Uribe president for alleged witness handling. In view of this, he announced his resignation from the Senate, but eventually decided to stay active.

In this context, the new president was inaugurated, and on the same day Uribe was the most appreciated in the Plaza de Bolívar, in recognition of the Senate president, Ernesto Macías, and President Duque himself in his speeches.

When it seemed to be its political decline, its protagonism in the political scene was strengthened, which was not lost, even if it is in the worst moment of polls. According to Gallup in August this year, Uribe recorded 42% favorable and 51% unfavorable.

He urged the country and the government to study the possible increase in the minimum wage, in an extraordinary way, once; It has given this to talk about a project that forbids child offending to be considered as a political crime; the chairman advanced the project that eliminates the law on guarantees; and he accompanied the Supersalud to establish another one to give him more teeth to exercise vigilance.

He also played one of the most important political events in the first boils of this government: meeting with opposition leaders, including the two main contradictory, senators Gustavo Petro and Ivan Cepeda, and for the first time spoke with members of the Farc party.

The aim of this mini-summit was to socialize the proposal to create an alternative room in the JEP for the military process, and although it did not reach its goal, it approved the inclusion of new magistrates from other origins (not from left or defenders rights man, but close to the military doctrine), in his opinion, to give more impartiality to this body.

Also last Tuesday, he moved the agenda with the submission of a new project that would provide a half-earner to workers earning less than three minimum wages. Something similar to what was done in 2002 as president, the year in which the surcharge for Sunday and Sunday hours was reduced, but the increase in the minimum wage was generous of 8.4%. It was also on one occasion, but the implications of this labor force reform, on the contrary, remain in place.

But the former president's power had a full expression last week when he met Antioquia Bank of the Democratic Center in Medellin to formalize his disagreement with the VAT proposal. He asked Minhaciendei to review other alternatives.

Although, in the same vein, other trade unions and parties have already ruled out, without any government response, after this statement, Minister Carrasquilla met with the former president, and President Duque convened the trade unions and opened the dialogue in search a possible consensus.

After concluding his meeting with Carrasquilla, Uribe, not the minister, came to defend the press from the benefits of the financing project and to remember the deficit Duque had received. In addition, Uribe announced that the head of the treasury portfolio would seek other options with the parties to correct this reform, but to do so.

Finally, he gave a blow to the austerity plan that the government was cooking through a directive and that only this Friday was signed by the president. With that, savings of 9 trillion pesos are expected in CEO spending over the next four years.

The wise man of the tribe

Even the most critical of Uribism underlines the discipline of the Democratic Center. The bank is punctual and always acts in block. But this does not happen by spontaneous generation, but by respect for the leader.

To the right of the seat is no longer Senator Duque, but Senator Paisa Paola Holguin, which will then be promoted to other dignities. And since everyone expects the blessing to be pre-candidate, it is he who suggested names for the mayor's office in Bogotá. The same will happen in other capitals and departments.

His presence in the Country Building Workshop (goes almost all), which President Duque interprets every Saturday, has not gone unnoticed. He arrives in front of the president, but makes him a similar group, accompanied by selfish sessions.

The president said that Uribe taught the country to build through the popular dialogue, which is one of the pillars of the Democratic Center; and although they have their own style, they are a reminder of Uribe's security councils.

The local authorities, in those spaces, welcome him in his interventions, but also at the beginning of the activity of the director of the orchestra, Karen Abudinen, high presidential adviser for the regions, then Duke.

In the Amagá workshop, two months ago, the former president spoke twice. One as an exmandatario and another as a senator. He simply welcomed the participants, remembered anecdotes and encouraged the government.

During these meetings, Uribe crosses data or concerns with ministers. They carefully consider questions or suggestions.

A month ago, on another visit by the President to Antioquia, he joined the former president in the colony of Montebello, where the XXX meeting of Southwestern Antioquia leaders took place.

In the previous government Uribe avoided going with the president Juan Manuel Santos in these regional spaces. If one was that day, the other arrived in the afternoon. This time, the former president accompanied President Duque to the main table, again to his right.

Is there a co-government?

It does not lose sight of the fact that many people voted for Duque, despite the criticism made by his opponents that Uribe would be true power.

Fit Juan Carlos Arenas, a professor at the Institute of Political Studies of U. de Antioquia, the country is celebrating a form of "singular" balance of power where the loss of the president's decision-making power is in favor of a coalition in the Republic of the Republic.

to John Fernando Restrepo, dean of the Umanites of U. Medellin, Duque became president for one reason: Uribe's approval. "Without him I would not be the place to be. The demand to emphasize is like asking a wrecked man to abandon his vest.

He added that he reiterated Uribe's support for JEP and the need to maintain agreement with Farc, and that this is a sign that substantive decisions are not taken in the Palace, but Senator Uribe's feeling is important.

Given this panorama Andrés Úsuga, a professor of constitutional law at U. Pontificia Bolivariana, said that despite the excellent performance of Senator Duque in 2014, his journey and experience would not have been sufficient to promote independence and success.

Therefore, his government, with high technical content, needs the political support of Congress and, in particular, his party and, of course, his leader, Uribe.

Could it be a break?
When he was elected president, Duque did not become the head of his party, as he did with other presidents. For this reason, in the case of a hypothetical pause with the former president, different from what happened with the divorce between Uribe and Santos, the congressmen surrounded Uribe, not La U, who was with Santos, to keep the "jam" .

And unlike Santos, who built the strong majority in exchange for cabinet representation, Duque has no big majority, nor has he structured his cabinet with political computation, so the fight with the CD would have been left alone in political terms.

It is obvious that, after Arenas, the head of state does not control the party and depends on it, which makes it very unlikely that in the sensitive issues of the country, the president will be able to take a stand against the positions of the CD and the former president.

To this it is added that according to Miguel Silva, a political scientist of U. Nacional, the question that Duque is not his party's head is that it makes it difficult for them to take their initiatives on the agenda, such as justice reform, and that is why the CD behaves as another party, guaranteeing independence your

Thus, although there have been differences in anti-corruption consultations, with some appointments and now with VAT, the honeymoon between Uribe and Duque seems for the moment not to have an expiration date. It is a defined symbiosis.

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