After the leader of the Liberal Party’s call for its members to leave the parliamentary coalition supporting the government, the Green Alliance party has stated that, for now, the party will continue to be part of the political alliance, at least until the end of this year. At that time, the National Directorate will decide whether they remain, or declare independence.
This was affirmed by Representative Santiago Osorio after the meeting of the caucus, which was attended by eight senators and fifteen Green representatives. The meeting only served to highlight the internal differences among the politicians of the party. The party of Bogotá’s mayor, Claudia Lopez, which has been critical of some decisions of President Petro’s administration, along with the Liberal Party, is the last party remaining in parliamentary support of the government, beyond the president’s own political coalition, the Historic Pact.
Originally, the parties supporting the executive were, in addition to the Historic Pact, which is already a coalition of 13 political groups, the Liberal Party, the Green Alliance, the U Party, and the Conservative Party. However, it’s worth noting that during the political crisis in April, the U Party and the Conservative Party left the parliamentary coalition and declared independence from the government. The intense debates in Congress over the Healthcare Reform, a project led by the Ministry of Health, have led to the complete breakdown of the parliamentary coalition that originated in August 2022, following the leftist Gustavo Petro’s presidency.
Green Alliance Postpones Breakup with the Government
From the harsh statements of some Green parliamentarians, it might appear that this party is no longer in parliamentary support of the government. However, according to Santiago Osorio, a representative in the Chamber for that party, the Green Alliance remains within the coalition and will continue to do so, for now.
“Today, the party reaffirms its position to continue being part of the government coalition. This is in light of statutes which suggest that, if there is a contrary decision regarding the Statute of the Opposition, it should be taken through a National Directorate and a convention where the decision is made in a broader manner,” Osorio stated to the press after meeting with the congressmen.
Nevertheless, Osorio urged the executive to enter into more dialogue with his party if they are to continue providing support. The differences that have arisen in parliamentary debates regarding the peace dialogues conducted by the government with two illegal armed groups, mainly due to the Healthcare Reform project, have created significant rifts in the relationship between the Greens and the Petro administration.
“We ask the government to improve its willingness to listen to this party, allowing us to make clear proposals in terms of reforms where we can contribute as a caucus in that agenda of change proposed by President Gustavo Petro,” stated Representative Osorio.
Shortly after, the party’s official X account clarified that “the decision to go independent or continue within the government is not made by the caucus meeting or the executive; statutorily, it is made by the National Directorate.” With this, the party specifies that despite the current decision of the representatives in the Chamber and the Senate, the party’s leaders will decide in a meeting, yet to be scheduled, the organization’s future position regarding the government.
No Connection with the Minister of Health
The latest differences between the Greens and the government have revolved around the Minister of Health, Guillermo Jaramillo. The minister’s statements criticizing the combative stance of Green Alliance congressmen in discussions about the Healthcare Reform have put relations with the government’s top representative in that area on hold.
“One is either in opposition or in government, but those who claim to be independent have only opposed the government every day. They leave the Chamber and continuously attack the government,” said Jaramillo in a tone that offended the Green Alliance.
However, these discussions about the Healthcare Reform have exposed internal differences within the Green Alliance. Thus far, what the party has publicly stated is that its participation in the government is not a “bargaining chip” for the executive to secure votes in the chambers.
Permanent Disagreements in Congress
Among the members of the Greens pushing to leave the government, Senator Jota Pe Hernández and Representative Katherine Miranda stand out. Both Green Alliance legislators have made numerous statements against the government they claim to support. For instance, Representative Miranda has criticized the government’s peace dialogues with ELN and FARC dissidents at least as forcefully as opposition parties. Miranda went as far as describing the government’s peace policy as a “chronicle of a death foretold.”
Regarding their position in Congressional votes, Miranda has been outspoken in supporting a break from the government. “I believe that we have the majority within our caucus to be independent, and this is a message that the Green Party and the national direction must take so that in the coming days, we make a firm decision,” she asserted, openly challenging her party’s leadership.
On the other hand, Jota Pe Hernández has been the most vocal opponent of the Healthcare Reform in the debates that have been ongoing in the Senate for weeks. Hernández has also criticized President Petro for some time. In March, the Green senator stated that “Petro’s promised change was all talk.”
Clashes with prominent members of the Historic Pact have been the norm in these 15 months of supposed collaboration. Thus, Hernández has had heated controversies with various members of the ruling Historic Pact, notably clashing with Senator María José Pizarro and Representative Alfredo Mondragón.
While Miranda and Hernández represent the option to leave the government, there are other party legislators who lean the opposite way. Senators such as Carlos Amaya, Ariel Ávila, and Ana Carolina Espitia, and Representatives Santiago Osorio, Martha Alfonso, and Olga Lucía Velásquez, are reportedly advocating to remain within the parliamentary coalition supporting the Petro government.