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Top Colombian court nullifies election of key Petro ally

#Top #Colombian #court #nullifies #election #key #Petro #ally

Colombia’s top administrative court annulled on Thursday the election of the Senate president, Roy Barreras, a key figure in the ambitious reform drive of President Gustavo Petro.

The court, known as the Council of State, declared that Barreras did not leave his old political party soon enough to seek re-election with his current party, violating electoral rules.

The senator breached “his duty to quit his seat 12 months before the registration deadline for congressional elections for the period 2022-2026,” the court said.

Barreras was a congressman for the Union Party for the People between 2018 and 2022, but was reelected in March 2022 as a senator for the Historic Pact for Colombia, the leftist coalition that Petro heads. 

Barreras said on Twitter that he would respect the decision since “court rulings must be respected even when they seem unjust to me.”

As Senate president, Barreras has backed key reforms that Petro has put forth since taking office nine months ago, particularly moves to impose higher taxes on the rich.

Petro has also pushed reforms in labor law, healthcare, pensions, the judiciary and in the energy sector to transition away from fossil fuels.

Analysts say Barreras’s role was crucial in arriving at a consensus between parties that support Petro, the nation’s first leftist president, and parties that oppose him.

The ruling is the latest reverse for Petro, who last week faced a revolt by three political parties who said they could no longer support his reform drive. 

Responding to the revolt, Petro replaced seven members of his Cabinet, including his finance minister, and warned Congress of a “revolution” if it doesn’t approve his reform plans.    

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