Parliamentary Chamber: Cámara de Representantes


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  Cámara de Representantes

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  27 October 1991

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament provided for in the new Constitution of 1991. General elections had previously been held in March 1990.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The Congress was prematurely dissolved once the Constituent Assembly elected in December 1990 had achieved its work of revising Colombia’s Constitution in early July 1991. The October 1991 poll was thus the first held under this new Basic Law. It was combined with voting for 27 departmental governors (who had previously been appointed).

Confronting the ruling Liberal Party (PL) was the traditional Social Conservative opposition (PSC) which suffered, however, from internal division leading to the formation of breakaway groups (MSN and NFD) that fielded separate lists of candidates. For its part, the fractured PL was divided into two factions and presented 89 different lists for the House of Representatives alone. The campaign was marked by violence and largely devoid of debate on the main problem areas (the economy, drugs, guerrilla movements) in the country. Altogether some 7000 candidates contested the 161 Representatives’ seats.

Polling day took place under heavy guard and was marked by a low voter turnout, attributed on the one hand to the confusion generated by the multitude of party lists and secondly to the busy electoral schedule of the previous 18 months. The strength shown by the M-19 Democratic Alliance (ADM-19), led by Mr. Diego Montana Cuellar, and other new groups appeared to signal the end of the Liberal and Conservative parties’ long-standing duopoly of Colombian politics. Although PL, officially led by Mr. Hernando Duran Lussan and Mr. Miguel Pinedo, secured absolute majorities in both Houses, it was less successful than in the December 1990 Constituent Assembly elections. The centre-left ADM-19, in the meantime, consolidated its position as the third-ranking political force despite losing electoral support.

In November 1991, President of the Republic Cesar Gaviria Trujillo (in office since August 1990) effected a comprehensive reorganization of the Cabinet, while retaining its multi-party composition. The new Congress was convened on 1 December.

Round no 1 (27 October 1991): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 15,000,000 (approx.)
Voters 33% (approx.)

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Liberal Party (PL) 86
Social Conservative Party (PSC) 15
Democratic Alliance (ADM-19) 15
New Democratic Force (NFD) 12
National Salvation Movement (MSN) 12
Patriotic Union (UP) 2
Others 19

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Copyright © 1991 Inter-Parliamentary Union