Country Risk

Colombian legislative elections to indicate future administration’s potential stability, affecting fiscal and regulatory policy

05 March 2018
Colombian presidential candidate for the Colombia Humana party, Gustavo Petro, delivers a speech at a rally in Medellín, Colombia, on 22 February 2018. Source: Joaquin Sarmiento/AFP/Getty Images

Key Points

  • President Juan Manuel Santos has reached his term limit and his legislative coalition is unlikely to survive the 27 May 2018 presidential election.
  • Legislative elections on 11 March will determine the stability of the next administration, which is likely to be formed of a coalition of parties.
  • Right-of-centre parties are more unified than the left; facilitating policy implementations including tax cuts if a right-wing candidate is elected.
  • Although left-wing presidential candidate Gustavo Petro is doing well in the presidential polls, his policy options would likely be constrained by any future political coalition.


Colombians will go to the polls on 11 March to elect a new legislature, followed by a presidential election on 27 May.

Legislative elections are scheduled for 11 March and are followed by the first round of the presidential election on 27 May. More than a dozen parties are competing for seats in the 166-seat House of Representatives and 102-seat Senate. Incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos is unable to run again, having reached his two-term limit. The ruling National Unity Coalition which currently comprises President Juan Manuel Santos’s Party of the U (Partido de la U), the Liberal Party (Partido Liberal), and Citizens’ Option (Opcion Ciudadana) is unlikely to survive after the election, having already lost the support of presidential candidate Germán Vargas Lleras’s Radical Change (Cambio Radical: CR) party.

Political alliances

The new legislature will be dominated by new political alliances, some of which have already been announced. The right-of centre Conservative (Partido Conservador) and Democratic Centre (Centro Democrático: CD) parties will present a unified presidential candidate (Either Iván Duque, Marta Lucía Ramírez, or Alejandro Ordóñez). Similarly, centrist candidate Sergio Fajardo (Citizens’ Compromise) has entered into the Colombia Coalition with the Left-of-centre Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo: PDA) and Green Alliance (Alianza Verde) parties.

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