Colombia: An Uribista primary?

From an article at El Tiempo about the bills currently before the Colombian congress:

será la oportunidad para definir el mapa político del 2010, pues en esta reforma se incluyó un artículo que podría permitir la escogencia a través de una consulta de un solo candidato presidencial que represente a los cinco partidos uribistas

It is not clear how a “primary” could be established to provide for five distinct parties to select a common presidential candidate (that’s the gist of it, for you non-Spanish readers). However, I did previously suggest that the various parties backing the reelection of President Uribe were going to have to find a way both to differentiate themselves (because they never were and won’t become “un solo partido”), while at the same time jockeying for position to succeed Uribe.

Thanks to Steven Taylor ((Strangely, he has not posted this at La Política Colombiana)) for the tip on this.

0 thoughts on “Colombia: An Uribista primary?

  1. I’ve often wondered how exactly a multi- (not bi-) party coalition (eg, the Right in France or Sweden) decides which party’s leader becomes the coalition’s candidate for President or Prime Minister.

    I’m accustomed to the bi-party Australian capital-C Coalition, which is straightforward in practice (since the Nationals get more seats and, usually, now more votes, in Queensland while the Liberals get more of both everywhere else), albeit murky in theory (especially in Queensland, where before the 1980s – and possibly again after 2010 – the Liberals may well get more votes than the Nats but fewer seats, even with basically equal electorates).

    Do the Swedes or French have a simple rule that the plurality party in the coalition supplies the leader? Or is there some provision to ensure – if the Dark Blue Party has 40%, the Light Blue Party has 15%, and the Indigo Party has 45% of the Ultraviolet Coalition’s supporters – that the Ultraviolet Coalition’s leader will be Blue rather than Indigo?

  2. That’s a very good general question, Tom. In the French case, there were just two main parties in each bloc (Socialist and Communist, Gaullist and UDF), so each party tended to have its own candidate in the first round. With the Communists clearly smaller, there was never any risk that the right would have two candidates in the runoff. Obviously, I am speaking of the period before the emergence of the FN and the fragmentation of the left, which led to the debacle of 2002. A lot of the first-round contests on the right were close, implying it was sort of a primary for that bloc.

    Chile is another case. The intra-Concertacion contest (mainly between Christian Democrats and Socialists) has always been worked out before the first round, so that there was one candidate. The right in the last election for the first time presented separate candidates, which I wrote about here.

    The incentives for pre-electoral coalitions are much weaker in Colombia than in France or Chile. In France, the use of a two-round system also for the National Assembly, as well as the semi-presidential features would means the parties anticipate forge alliances even if they are not formalized prior to the first round. In Chile, the small district magnitude and open lists likewise give incentives for pre-election coalitions (which was indeed maintained on the right even when the component parties had separate presidential candidates competing on the same day!).

    Colombia, on the other hand, has high-magnitude PR, a counter-honeymoon electoral cycle, two-round presidential elections, and pure presidentialism. These are all features that one might think would reduce the incentives to create a pre-electoral coalition leading into the first round of the presidential election. If this bill (the text of which I have not seen) were enacted, and assuming no other change to the electoral cycle, this intra-alliance primary would take place concurrent with the congressional elections, and about two months before the presidential first round. Stay tuned.

  3. > “A lot of the first-round contests on the right were close, implying it was sort of a primary for that bloc.”

    Indeed in the 1974 presidential election, the “junior partner” (Giscard’s UDF) outpolled the previously senior Gaullist RPR, who only got 15%. Giscard as incumbent narrowly retained the conservative leadership in 1981 (28-18% on the first round), but then in 1988 RPR (Chirac) edged out Barre’s UDF (and Le Pen’s FN!) 20-17-14%.

    (The Wikipediste suggests that Giscard lost in 1981 in part because ‘[w]hen Chirac lost the “primary,” he, in effect, refused to endorse Giscard as the candidate of the Right…”)

    So alternation is possible (again, c/f Queensland where the Liberals have won more votes in, I’d estimate, about half the elections since 1977… Alan? paging…. but have never won more seats in that time).

  4. Pingback: Fruits and Votes

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