ColombiaOne.comColombia newsPresident Petro Calls for Left-wing Unity for 2026 Elections

President Petro Calls for Left-wing Unity for 2026 Elections


President Petro unity left
President Petro calls for unity of the left for the 2026 elections. Credit: @PactoCol / X / Casa Rosada (CC BY 2.5 Ar)

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, calls for the unity of the left as a mechanism to win the legislative and presidential elections of 2026. In a country where the constitution prohibits reelection, Petro has appealed to his supporters to reach an agreement that allows the continuity of his progressive policies, repeating the success of the Historic Pact coalition, the electoral platform that allowed the best results in history in legislative elections and gained, for the first time, the presidency of the country.

Historic Pact is a political brand of various parties and social movements that, in 2021, achieved framework agreements to register as an electoral coalition. It was a success that allowed the Colombian left to achieve the best results in its history, but the law prohibits a coalition to repeat candidacy, so the Colombian president is looking for formulas to ensure the continuity of his policies. On account of the recent death of the historic leftist politician, Piedad Cordoba, Petro bets on the creation of a single party that brings together the various organizations that today make up his coalition.

The Unity Congress

Although the idea is not new, it is the first time that the president has adopted it. “Since Piedad, who went through a stage in the history of Colombian and Latin American progressivism, it is important that the Historic Pact re-examine itself. I propose a meeting of the 1,500 people elected in 2023: the progressive congress. And a decision to configure a single political party,” he wrote the day after the death of the iconic senator.

Some of the president’s most direct collaborators quickly took up the call for unity. In this context, Senator Ivan Cepeda, representative of the Democratic Pole, a party of the coalition, reacted by supporting the proposal of his political leader.

“It is necessary that today the Historic Pact consolidates itself as a unified force, with clarity and coherence, to carry out the necessary transformations of the project and political program with which it was elected in the previous elections. I hope that this proposal has political concreteness,” affirmed Senator Cepeda.

Later, the important leader added, “I fully support President Petro’s idea of holding a congress of the progressive forces and the Historic Pact to advance the strategy of making the democratic transformation of Colombia irreversible.”

With this proposal, the current head of state unveils his strategy for the 2026 elections, which will renew the congress and the presidency of the country. After a year and a half in office, the president has acknowledged that some of his initiatives will not materialize in his four-year term, and has emphasized the need to seek continuity.

Normalizing the Colombian left

The Historic Pact has been discussing for months the most ideal formula to achieve something that would be historic in the country: turning the left into a real alternative of power. The arrival of Gustavo Petro to the presidency in 2022 was the first time that a person of this ideology had managed to win an election in two hundred years of republican history.

Colombia is an anomaly in this sense in the region, as its political left has always been persecuted and stigmatized. In addition to this, decades of armed struggle have depleted its political options.

In the mid-1980s, and in the context of a peace dialogue that ended up failing, the Patriotic Union became the first important electoral initiative that brought together progressive proposals, including supporters of the FARC guerrillas. The experiment ended in a veritable massacre of thousands of elected officials and supporters of the Union.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the Alternative Democratic Pole was a second attempt to normalize this political option. In 2006, Carlos Gaviria achieved a milestone for the Colombian left: 2,600,000 votes for his presidential candidacy. Those were the golden years of the conservative Alvaro Uribe, who won easily in the first round in those elections, where he got more than 7,000,000 votes. Never before had the left managed to unite so many supporters.

The definitive success came in 2022, when the Historic Pact coalition achieved what seemed impossible: winning the elections. Organized around Gustavo Petro’s Colombia Humana party and the Democratic Pole, it managed to attract countless smaller organizations, including the Communist Party, and, after the elections, Comunes, the party that emerged after the 2016 peace process of the extinct FARC.

President Petro unity left
Gustavo Petro became Colombia’s first left-wing president in 2022. Credit: Telemedellin / CC BY 3.0

Towards a social democracy

Today, the Historic Pact has managed to put on the road to parliamentary life a national left, traditionally rejected and massacred by Colombia’s political and social intolerance. The most breakaway parties, such as the Communist Party, represent minority options. Similarly, the party of the former guerrillas is also not important, after some pyrrhic electoral results it has reaped since it was born in 2017.

Disappearing in 2026 by merging into a large left-wing, plural and unified party would be a more than honorable way out for a political project that was born to failure due to the majority rejection of Colombian society, whose violent past is represented in the collective imagination by the FARC.

And no matter how much the opposition repeats the mantra of seeing communists everywhere, Gustavo Petro’s political proposals, and the majority among his supporters, would be endorsed by any European social democratic party.

Colombia has more than two years before the next elections. In that time, the maturity of various parties and micro-parties that today enjoy the support of power will be gauged. So far, President Petro’s initiative has been the only one with a vision of the future to maintain the political option of the left; a future where the left will no longer be an anomaly in Colombia, but a real and sustained option within a healthy democracy.

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