President Iván Duque will complete his first year in office on August 7. A recent survey, conducted by the consulting firm Ivamer, estimates that in July 2019 his approval ratings stood around 37%, down from September 2018 when they were close to 54%. At legislative level, Duque’s government has laid the ground for the adoption of the Financing Law, the National Development Plan and the Modernization of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) sector. The President is keen for the 2019-2020 legislature to drive measures in the areas of pension reform and anti-corruption, areas left pending after the last legislature. The administration will also be promoting sustainable economic growth and capital market reform.
The president’s first twelve months featured conflicts related to the peace process, mainly reflected in his discrepancies with the decisions taken by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP) and the antagonism with dissidents from both the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Another challenging issue front and center concerned security and human rights, as although the number of homicides is down, the assassination of civil society leaders at national level has been pivotal for the political agenda. The Venezuelan crisis, prompting the massive migration of Venezuelans across the border into Colombia, has become a very pressing issue for Duque, one of the loudest voices calling for the recognition of Juan Guaidó as acting president of Venezuela in international forums.
On the economic front, during the first year of government inflation has been largely stable, averaging out at 3.8% (from June 2018 to June 2019), compared with 2018 figures of 3.2%. Unemployment increased from 9.4% in the April-June 2018 period to 10.1% for the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the administration envisages growth for this year at 3.6% although analysts and international organizations are forecasting an annual figure of 3%.
Finally, in the context of the commercial war between the United States and China, the country’s two main trading partners, President Duque has been trying to revitalize the link with the American nation, while deepening trade relations with the Asian country, as evidenced in his official visit to China at the end of July.