Shortly before the conclusion of negotiations with the Farc guerrillas, the president reshuffles the cabinet: a Green and a leftist become ministers.
The peace process is difficult, the Farc’s opponents are numerous Photo: reuters
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has reshuffled his cabinet. Shortly before the conclusion of peace negotiations with the Farc guerrillas, the president is trying to use the new composition to bring parts of the political opposition into the government boat. While the left-wing and green spectrum will be covered by a ministerial post in the future, the ultra-right opposition around former President alvaro Uribe will be left out.
Santos now wants to add the center-left spectrum to the government supported by conservative and liberal parties. It is a "cabinet of peace for the post-conflict period" that "consists of all regions and all political tendencies," the president said. At the same time, he doubled the number of women in the 16-member ministerial lineup from three to six.
Although key ministries such as defense, foreign affairs and interior are not affected by the new appointments, Jorge Londono, a Green, will take over the future important post of justice minister. The question of how and in what form war and human rights crimes committed by all warring parties are to be legally punished after a peace agreement is one of the most difficult undertakings.
With Clara Lopez, Santos is trying to win the support of the left spectrum. To the surprise of her own party members, the leader of the Polo Democratico is now locked into the government as minister of labor. It is the first time that a PD member has been part of the executive, and already there is a sizzle even in his own ranks. PD Senator Jorge Robledo was one of the first to criticize the appointment. It would have been better if Lopez had declined, Robledo said, and called on her to resign as party chair.
No support from parties
Similar sentiments have been heard from the Green Party. The Alianza Verde does not support Londono’s appointment as justice minister, nor is it part of the government. "Londono is acting as an independent person," said a spokesman for the Green Alliance.
Peace talks between the government and Farc, which have been ongoing since November 2012, are nearing a successful conclusion. Both sides want an end to the civil war, which has lasted for more than 50 years and has claimed more than 200,000 lives.
Santos had already replaced the entire military leadership in July 2015 with a view to the negotiations.