ColombiaOne.comColombia newsColombia Postpones the Election of the New Attorney General

Colombia Postpones the Election of the New Attorney General


Colombia  new Attorney General
Colombia postpones new Attorney General election until January. Credit: MinTic / CC BY 3.0

Colombia has postponed the election of the new Attorney General until January. The person who will replace the controversial Francisco Barbosa, whose term ends in February 2024, will not be known until after Christmas. Initially, the announcement of the chosen candidate from the three presented by President Gustavo Petro was scheduled for December 7, but a last-minute change of magistrate delayed the final decision.

Thus, the Supreme Court of Justice rescheduled the election of the Attorney General for January 25. What has been known for some time is that Colombia’s new Attorney General will be a woman, after President Petro decided to include only women in his proposed list, from which the magistrates will decide who will take office starting February.

The vote, originally scheduled for the morning of December 7, ‘Día de Velitas’ in Colombia, marking the beginning of the Christmas season, was postponed because they decided to wait for the swearing-in of the new magistrates Gerardo Barbosa and Fernando Jiménez, and the return of two other magistrates who were absent on granted leave.

Even though the law does not require the presence of all 23 magistrates to elect the prosecutor and a two-thirds vote would suffice, the final decision has been to postpone the process until the end of the first month of 2024.

A woman will replace Barbosa

The candidates, proposed by the Colombian presidency—Ángela María Buitrago, Luz Adriana Camargo, and Amelia Pérez—already presented their resumes to the Supreme Court magistrates on November 20 in a public hearing. Thus, the magistrates have already dispelled doubts about which candidate seems to be the best fit for leading the prosecutor’s office.

The exclusively female composition of the list sparked controversy when Magistrate Gerardo Botero formally requested the inclusion of at least one man, suggesting that the proposal of just three women was unconstitutional. However, no grounds were found in the action to alter the presidential decision. This scenario adds to the controversy surrounding the replacement of Luz Amparo Cerón with Luz Adriana Camargo, influenced by Cerón’s previous relationship with Néstor Humberto Martínez, which raised distrust in the current government.

President Petro and the replacement of Francisco Barbosa

Colombia’s constitution stipulates that the election of the Attorney General falls under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Justice, which, through a vote, decides who will be the prosecutor, based on a three-person list proposed by the head of state.

President Petro wasted no time in congratulating the replacement of the current prosecutor, Francisco Barbosa, who took office during President Ivan Duque’s tenure in 2020. Since Gustavo Petro took office as president last August, Barbosa has become one of the main critics of the executive branch and the president himself. In this regard, the replacement signals a period of greater understanding between these two important branches of the state.

“I have submitted a list of proven women to the Supreme Court for the election of the Attorney General of the Nation. Whatever the Court’s decision, I hope that, following that decision, the prosecutor’s office will never again target Colombians for political or economic reasons, and it will never again be allowed to be used to cover up crime. The Minister of Justice now has the task of configuring a judicial reform commission aimed at simplifying, empowering, making it effective, and bringing it closer to citizens,” stated President Petro.

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