Now that the right-wing Ivan Duque will face the center-left Gustavo Petro in the second round of the Colombian presidential elections, the Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA) party announced it will take a new stance on Wednesday after its candidate Sergio Fajardo didn't get enough votes in the first round.
Fajardo was the official candidate of the PDA despite many of its party members openly supporting Petro during the campaign, but the party conditions its members with a strict voting policy, forcing them to vote only for their own candidates. Doing otherwise could result in “double militancy,” penalized under the party's code. In April, a dissident group within the PDA asked the committee to allow them to vote for any candidate they choose to support as many of them sympathized with Petro, who used to be a prominent member of their party.
The faction, led by senators Ivan Cepeda, Alexander Lopez, Jesus Alberto Castilla, Senen Niño, representative Alirio Uribe, along with 100 other members, asked the head of the party to allow them to decide between Petro and Fajardo, but they were denied the request by Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo, the party's most acknowledged leader.
But now that Fajardo is out of the race, the party needs to take a new stance and decide if they will promote a blank vote, abstention, let their members free to decide on anything they want or to fully support Petro against Democratic Center's Ivan Duque, who represents the continuation of hardline former President Alvaro Uribe.
However, not everyone within the PDA supports the idea of embracing Petro's candidacy against Uribe's candidate, like Senator Jorge Robledo who fiercely opposes him and considers the possibility of the blank protest vote as a viable option.
“The decision won't take long, we're waiting for the regional leaders to arrive and there will be an official position this week,” saidPDA's Senator Ivan Cepeda regarding the meeting called by the party's National Executive Committee.
According to Caracol Radio, 19 out of the 25 members of the Executive Committee are in favor of supporting Petro and its Human Colombia Movement.
Uribe's candidate Ivan Duque and progressive Gustavo Petro made it to the second round of presidential elections to take place on June 17, after none of the candidates got the mandatory 50 percent plus one votes needed to become win the presidency in the first round.