Gustavo Petro proposes to change the Constitution; opposition calls it “dangerous”

BOGOTÁ _ The president of Colombia Gustavo Petro proposed this Friday to change the Constitution in the face of Congress’s refusal to approve several of his “reforms”, in a clash that has motivated several demonstrations incited by the ruler.

In power since August 2022, the leftist ruler has failed to convince congressmen to give the green light to his bills to modify the health, pension and labor systems.

“If the institutions that we have in Colombia today are not capable of living up to the social reforms that the people decreed through their vote (…) then Colombia has to go to a National Constituent Assembly,” he said. during a mobilization of indigenous people who support him in the city of Cali (southwest).

However, Petro is not popular, he has low approval ratings due to his policies, cases of alleged corruption and the alleged financing of his campaign by drug trafficking.

It is the first time that Petro suggests modifying the Magna Carta. He has previously asked his voters to take to the streets to pressure Congress.

The government aims to reduce private participation in the provision of health services and the payment of pensions, as well as expand benefits to workers. But Petro lost the majority in the Legislature a few months after his inauguration.

The opposition points out that the president is determined to make his proposals a reality by bypassing institutions and often compares him to the Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.

Congressman Hernán Cadavid, of the Democratic Center party, described Petro’s approach as “dangerous.”

“He will do whatever it takes to destabilize this country and hold on to power,” he wrote on the social network X.

The current Constitution of Colombia, written in 1991, was the result of the demobilization of the urban guerrilla M-19, to which Petro belonged in his youth.

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