Colombia holds referendum on anti-corruption measures aimed at appeasing voters

Colombia holds referendum on anti-corruption measures aimed at appeasing voters

Colombians will head to the polls for a fourth time this year today, this time to vote on a series

CNS-VATICAN-LETTER-COLOMBIA

Photo: Reuters/John Vizcaino

Colombians will head to the polls for a fourth time this year today, this time to vote on a series of anti-corruption measures.

There are seven proposals being put forward, including a three-term limit for senators, publicising government budgets and elected officials’ assets, as well as reducing congress representatives’ salary from 40 to 25 times the minimum wage.

Despite corruption being the top issue at this year’s presidential election and estimated to cost Colombia some $17 billion a year, the proposals may struggle to pass. The problem is not the popularity of the proposals—the measures are extremely popular and are almost certain to gain a majority—but whether a third of all registered voters will participate. Indeed, today’s referendum will require over 12 million people to turn out, which is not a guarantee after only 18 million people voted in March’s parliamentary elections.

While the measures have been opposed by some lawmakers, including former President Alvaro Uribe, newly inaugurated President Ivan Duque stands to benefit from today’s vote regardless of the result. While Mr Duque has not been the driving force behind the referendum, his vocal support for the measures will endear him to Colombians and boost his popularity.

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