Colombian alliances and ballot symbols

Amplifying a discussion in an earlier comment thread, I offer this image of the presidential election ballot used in this year’s first round of the Colombian presidential election (25 May).

2014 Pres tarjeton-First Round

The photo was supplied by Steven Taylor, who wrote about the first round, and posted some other photos of his trip to Colombia, at Outside the Beltway.

One can see immediately that two of the tickets were presented by alliances. Juan Manuel Santos, the incumbent who was reelected (in two rounds of voting), and his running mate are indicated as the candidates of Unidad Nacional, and then the symbols of the three parties comprising this alliance are shown: Partido Social de Unidad Nacional, Cambio Radical, and Liberal. As an aside, I would note that we had some discussion in the earlier thread about whether the first of these parties, which was founded in support of former president Uribe but now supports Santos in opposition to the Uribe-backed challenger (Zuluaga), still used “Partido de la U” as its informal name. That name remains in use, as indicated at their website: At least as of today, it has a video animation that starts with “Vota contra la guerra, vota por la paz”, and then a marking of an ‘X’ across their ballot symbol and photos.

Note that the ticket headed by Clara Lopez simply has the names of the two parties backing her at the top, rather than an alliance name.

The ballot is also interesting for allowing parties to have a short slogan, which two of them incorporate into their symbols. The ballot symbol for Centro Democratico, backing Oscar Zuluaga, says “Mano firme, corazon grande” (“firm hand, big heart”), a clear indicator of its opposition to the Santos policy of continuing negotiations with the FARC guerrillas. Back to the Santos alliance, we see the Liberal Party symbol having the slogan, “Para que vivas mejor” (“in oder that you might live better”). I am not sure I have seen ballot symbols elsewhere with words other than the party (and sometimes leader) name, although I am sure other examples exist.

12 thoughts on “Colombian alliances and ballot symbols

  1. In EU elections in the UK you occasionally get similar things on the same line as the party name for minor parties. Like “Roman Party – Ave!” or “Christian Party – Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”. Most of them don’t do this though and I’m unaware of anything else like those Columbian ballots.

    • Not to mention the Monster Raving Loony Party, who in 2010 included the name of their sponsors, bookmakers William Hill, in their official name, meaning returning officers all across the country were forced to recognise the paltry votes obtained by the “Monster Raving Loony William Hill Party.”

      • I actually preferred when returning officers would just read out the candidate’s names, with the BBC’s election commentator naming the party right before the number of votes was read out. I don’t know whether it was due to a change of rules or a result of social pressure, but from what I remember all returning officers reading out the party name as well.

      • That’s pretty funny, Chris. I did not know that.

        Having a leader’s name in the official party name is not so unusual. Just a couple off the top of my head would include Congress-I (for Indira), “The Movement led by Tzipi Livni” (yes, that is the full name, translated, of HaTnua). I suspect it would not be hard to make a longer list.

  2. In Quebec, the third party, the CAQ (which won 22 seats this April) is formally registered with the Director-General of Elections in Quebec under the name Coalition avenir Québec – L’équipe François Legault (Coalition for the Future of Quebec – Team François Legault). And from 2005 to 2012 New Zealand had Jim Anderton’s Progressive Party.

    • And in India we find the Biju Janata Dal (Biju People’s Party), founded by Odisha state’s former chief minister Biju Patnaik, which won a huge victory in the Indian General Elections in 2014 securing 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 117 of 147 Legislative Assembly seats of Odisha. And the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam named for DMK founder CN Annadurai (popularly “Anna”). Then there is the YSR Congress Party (Telugu: Yuvajana, Shramika, Rythu Congress Party, or Youth, Labour and Farmer Congress Party), mimicking the initials of its inspiration Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (popularly known as YSR). Which brings to mind our old nemesis Eduardo Lapi, Governor of Yaracuy in Venezuela, who founded a party La Alianza por Yaracuy (LAPY).

  3. “I suspect it would not be hard to make a longer list” Indeed.
    Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF)
    Team Stronach for Austria
    Die Reformkonservativen – Liste Ewald Stadler (REKOS)
    Liste Dr. Hans-Peter Martin
    Katter’s Australian Party
    Palmer United Party

    • We should add Pauline Hanson’s One Nation of unhappy memory for Australians.

      In the 1930s, Jack Lang managed to found not one but 3 successive Labor breakaways under some variant of Lang Labor. Lang is also famous for being dismissed as premier of New South Wales by the state governor.

  4. Tom Round sa[id]: 24/03/2012 at 12:46 am @
    * PHON = “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.” What is it with the personalised party names on the right wing? “Katter’s Australian Party”, “Call to Australia (Fred Nile Group).” Say what you will about the Confederate Action Party but at least they weren’t “The Perry B Jewell Electoral Alliance” or something similar. And CAP and KAP are less, uh, unfortunate than “PHON”.

  5. Back to the Colombian case: I wonder if “Mano Firme Corazon Grande” is not just a slogan in the ballot symbol, but actually the registered name of a party (or “electoral movement”, which is a term in Colombian electoral law). I neglected to note that the words also appear at the top of the ballot, beneath the Centro Democratico name. This fits the pattern of the PDA-UP alliance endorsing Lopez and Avella.

    Even if so, we still have a slogan that is not part of the party name in the case of the Liberal ballot symbol on the Unidad Nacional ticket.

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