Hernández avoids the presidential debate in Colombia

Hours before the ballotage in Colombia next Sunday, the debate between the two presidential candidates Gustavo Petro Y Rodolfo Hernandez It does not have a defined place and date and the RCN radio announced on Thursday night that it had been suspended. The meeting had been ordered by the Superior Court of Bogota and according to the ruling, both politicians have 24 hours left to define the details of the debate. However, according to RCN, “There will be no presidential debate before the second round, after the engineer Rodolfo Hernández affirmed that the tutela ruling cannot be fully complied with, because his request for clarification of it has not been resolved.”

Before the ruling Hernández had declined to participate in any type of debate because according to him it is a format that does not allow him to express his ideas.

On Wednesday, when the decision of the Bogota court was made known, Hernández questioned that the ruling indicates that the two candidates must request and schedule the meeting jointly and that if they do not do so, they may incur contempt. For Hernández, it is “the closest thing to a dictatorship.” On the other hand, the engineer from Bucaramanga pointed out that for Colombians who live and vote abroad, the elections began on Monday and he referred to the regulations that prohibit all kinds of propaganda during election day.

“It’s not mandatory”

Hours before RCN’s announcement of the cancellation of the debate the National Electoral Council (CNE) had indicated that it is not mandatory for presidential candidates to participate in a debate and that the law only establishes the right to do so. The CNE’s clarification responds to the request filed by former congresswoman Ángela Robledo before the Bogotá court. According to Robledo, Hernández “violated the electoral guarantees” by refusing to appear for a debate with Petro.

In addition, the CNE explained that the candidates can use spaces in the RTVC to publicize their eventual government plans. In a statement from the Colombian Public Media System RTVC, they indicated that the candidates have not yet submitted the joint application ordered by the Bogotá court. In turn, they indicated that the exchange of letters between the candidates is not considered “a formal request to RTVC to work on the realization and transmission of the debate.”

“Stalinist court obligation”

After hours of silence about the debate ordered by the Colombian justice system, Hernández, a candidate for the League of Anticorruption Leaders, had said that he agreed to debate with his rival from the Historical Pact Gustavo Petro. “I respect, I abide, but I do not agree,” clarified the former mayor of Bucaramanga, who criticized that the magistrates of the Bogotá Court “decided that a right should become a Stalinist obligation.”

By accepting, Hernández had established a series of conditions: from who should moderate it, topics to discuss, to the location of the meeting. While Petro reiterated that she agreed with the debate and accepted the conditions of his opponent.

These conditions appear in a letter that Hernández sent this Thursday to his opponent in the electoral contest “Petro: You got up early to say you were ready. already for the debate, but true to his style he omitted to specify how, when, where, with whom, for what and a thousand details that have to be foreseen, ”said the candidate for the Anti-Corruption Government League. ”i’m ready too to debate as I have been for more than 50 years, when I decided to build homes, create jobs, pay taxes and not live like a professional bureaucrat,” he added.

Hernández’s list of conditions includes the request that the hosts of the debate be the director of Revista Semana, Vicky Dávila, and journalists from LaFm Darcy Quinn, and RCN News Jessica de la Peña, as well as “three men who Let’s choose together.” She also requested that the meeting be broadcast by the Colombian National Radio Television Public Media System (RTVC), something that the capital court had already ruled in the ruling that was made known yesterday.

Hernández requested that the debate take place in the city of Bucaramanga. He also imposed a series of issues to be discussed at the meeting that are not linked to the proposals of the government programs. In the letter sent to Petro, the topics presented by Hernández have to do with the presidential campaign: “political alliances of the candidates”, “dirty campaign to discredit political contenders”, as well as the “abusive use of budget resources for campaigns ”.

“You did not want, they force you”

For his part, the senator and former mayor of Bogotá responded to his rival through a letter in which he accepted the list of conditions. “Yesterday I said that I was ready for the debate, and I reiterate it”, affirmed the candidate of the Historical Pact. “I’m glad you agreed to debate. You did not want, force you. However, I do not put conditions. None. I leave all the details of the debate in the hands of the RTVC Public Media System: from the moderators to the topics, including, of course, those you raise,” he added, describing Hernández’s letter as provocative. Petro assured that Hernández mocks the Colombians by seeking to impose a list of conditions for its realization.

“His disregard for the slightest democratic norms is total and revealing. His contempt for the millions of Colombians who have the right to contrast our programs and solutions is very illuminating”, Peter concluded. While, Alphonse Pradahead of debate in the campaign of the leader of the Historical Pact, participated in a meeting with RTVC and regretted that none of Hernández’s representatives responded to the call. “He did not send absolutely any type of reason, in such a way that we clearly verify that there is no will to hold the debate,” claimed Prada, who stressed that “The Colombian people deserve to see live and direct the theses of each of the campaigns.”

Last night Hernández tried to blame Petro for not holding a debate that Hernández himself never wanted. Thus, he wrote that Petro’s unconditional acceptance of her conditions to debate was a way of not complying with the court ruling:

“From the previous response signed by the candidate I deduced that he was not willing to strictly abide by what was ordered by the office because, by stating that he did not set conditions, he showed that he preferred not to know the precise judicial mandate to turn him in an advertising expression contrary to the ruling in question”.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman

Colombian people

warned that there is a risk of “incidence of illegal armed groups” ahead of the second presidential round this Sunday. In a statement, the agency said that 290 of the 1,103 municipalities in the country are at high and extreme risk due to episodes of violence. The candidates for the presidency arrive at the ballotage with the latest voting intention polls indicating a technical tie between the candidates.

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