Senate Board to decide whether to continue with motion of censure against Finance Minister
5 octubre 2018

On October 3rd, the President of the Senate, Ernesto Macias (Centro Democrático-ruling party) declared that the Senate Board will decide whether or not to allow the proposal. The final decision is expected to be announced next week in the Senate plenary. This decision can be appealed by the Senators, but in view of the fact that the opposition only counts 25 seats in the Senate and 24 seats in the House of Representatives (out of a total of 108 and 171 respectively), the proposal is expected not to prosper and Minister Carrasquilla will likely keep his office. Since 1991, 21 ministers have been subjected to a motion of censure, but none of them have prospered.

 

Senator Macias argued that the proposed motion of censure was inappropriate because the accusations refer to actions that have no connection with the current government. Specifically, the accusations refer to acts of money laundering and embezzlement of public funds when Carrasquilla was Finance Minister during the presidency of Álvaro Uribe between 2003 and 2007. Senator Jorge Robledo -head of the opposition party Polo Democrático Alternativo (5 senators and 2 representatives)- accused Macias of authoritarianism, alleging that the proposal has all the legal requirements necessary to proceed; indeed, the proposal has the signature of 18 senators, the minimum necessary to initiate a motion of censure.

 

According to article 135 of the Constitution, after the debate on the motion of censure, the vote will take place between the third and the tenth day in Congress, with the presence of Minister Carrasquilla. The decision will require the absolute majority of the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, which is 55 and 86 congressmen respectively. If approved, the minister will exit the cabinet. If it is rejected, another motion of censure cannot be presented unless it is motivated by new events.

 

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