For double militancy and failure to demonstrate roots, the Council of State admits our claim of nullity against the election of Rodrigo Tovar Vélez, Representative to the House of Representatives for the Peace Seat

For double militancy and failure to demonstrate roots, the Council of State admits our claim of nullity against the election of Rodrigo Tovar Vélez, Representative to the House of Representatives for the Peace Seat

The Administrative Disputes Chamber, Fifth Section, of the Council of State, with a decision of June 2, 2022, admitted the lawsuit that we filed together with victims of paramilitary State crimes and journalists of La Nueva Prensa, against the election of Jorge Rodrigo Tovar Vélez, son of Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias Jorge 40, paramilitary commander of the self-styled Northern Block of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). 

In the recent legislative elections, Jorge Rodrigo Tovar Vélez, was elected as Representative to the House of Representatives for the Special Transitory Peace Circumscriptions -Citrep-, or Peace Seats, after having registered his candidacy in November 2021, together with Mrs. Nairobis Beatriz Jiménez Martínez, to run for Citrep 12 before the National Civil Registry Office (Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil). The act of registration was reproached by several victims of paramilitary groups in the region that makes up the aforementioned district, who denounced threats against them during the development of this administrative procedure. 

In view of such complaints, the National Electoral Council -CNE- requested from the Unit for the Attention and Integral Reparation of Victims -Uariv- the accreditation of the candidate as a victim, before which this entity provided a certification accrediting Tovar Vélez without providing evidence of the victimizing facts for which he is recognized, alleging legal reserve of the candidate’s personal information. In that opportunity, this electoral authority endorsed this candidacy reiterating that Tovar Vélez complied with all the registration requirements.  

In the March 13 elections, the results of the election day gave as winner the list of the Peace is Life Association PAVIDA, which obtained a total of 17,687 votes, thus recognizing the candidate Jorge Rodrigo Tovar Velez with the highest vote with which he was elected Representative for the Citrep No. 12 corresponding to rural areas of the departments of La Guajira, Cesar and Magdalena.  

This election was the subject of the present lawsuit, which is based on the failure to comply with the requirements relating to ties to the territory of the district, either by birth or permanent habitation. On the contrary, candidate Jorge Rodrigo Tovar Vélez, who declares to have been a victim of forced displacement on two occasions, has all his social and cultural roots in the urban center of Valledupar, where his family has built its economic and social capital for decades. It should be recalled that Legislative Act 02, which gave life to the Peace Seats, expressly excluded the municipal capitals of each of the municipalities that are part of these constituencies. 

On the other hand, the candidacy of Mr. Tovar Vélez, incurred in double militancy, cause for nullity of his election, according to law 1437 of 2011, in its article 275. 8, since Mr. Tovar supported the candidacy of Juan Manuel Daza Iguarán, of the Democratic Center Party, carrying out public acts that were registered and provided as evidence to this claim for nullity, which was incompatible with his aspiration for the Citrep, since the groups of victims that ran for these transitory seats, acted as political conglomerates and were clearly prohibited from any type of alliance or agreement with political parties or movements with legal status or representation in Congress.  

We hope that the Council of State pronounces annulling this election that not only fails to comply with the requirements of Legislative Act 02 of 2021, but also that it enforces the objective of giving a voice and political participation to the victims of the armed conflict, and not to those who have developed their public career on the side of the perpetrators. The peace seats are a guarantee of non-repetition and should not be usurped from the populations and territories especially affected by the armed conflict, socio-political violence and institutional neglect, which should be represented there.  

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