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Colombia Internacional

Print version ISSN 0121-5612


GAMBOA GUTIERREZ, Laura. The Readjustment of the Colombian Right. Uribismo's Electoral Success. [online]. 2019, n.99, pp.187-214. ISSN 0121-5612.


This article seeks to explain the electoral success of Iván Duque in the 2018 presidential elections. The victory of Uribe's candidate is paradoxical for two reasons. First, Duque campaigned against the peace process, a major achievement in recent Colombian history and an important step to reduce violence and strengthen the country's democracy. Second, Duque was the most inexperienced candidate on the right. He managed to defeat more visible politicians, with more experience and better access to electoral machinery.


This article presents a case study that triangulates information from primary and secondary sources, public opinion surveys, analysis of electoral data and surveys of parliamentarians.


Iván Duque’s victory is the result of two simultaneous processes: the consolidation of Uribismo -the hawkish faction of the Colombian right- and the emergence of socio-economic cleavage, historically subordinated to matters of public security. The first process was the result of the negotiations with the FARC and the de-institutionalization of the party system. Together, these factors strengthened the political machinery of the Centro Democrático party and diminished traditional elites' ability to mobilize votes. The second process was the result of the interaction between the agreements with the FARC and the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The peace process opened spaces on the left of the ideological spectrum. Gustavo Petro took advantage of this space and enthused voters with his left-leaning socio-economic proposals. His program took him all the way to the run-off election. Once there, however, the crisis in Venezuela played against him. Afraid that Petro would turn Colombia into a “second Venezuela,” center and center-right voters voted for Duque.


despite its importance, Uribismo hasn't been sufficiently studied from a comparative perspective. This article strives to help understand the similarities and differences of this right-wing current in comparison with those in other Latin American countries. This text is also one of the first articles to analyze the 2018 elections and their short and long-term consequences.

Keywords : Political parties; Colombia; Elections; Álvaro Uribe; Gustavo Petro..

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