BOGOTÁ ( Associated Press) — A Colombian court in a prima facie ruling issued Wednesday ordered two presidential candidates to participate in a debate that will be broadcast nationwide ahead of voting on June 19.
In the midst of campaigning, both the candidates refused to publicly debate their proposals on separate occasions. After the results of the first round, it was denied by the anti-corruption Governors League candidate Rodolfo Hernández, who said he would focus his strategy only on interviews and giving information on social networks.
The Superior Court of the Judicial District of Bogota indicated, “The grandeur resulting from the debate of ideas is not replaced with interviews, communications or notices in the media or social networks.” “Presidential debate is, in itself, considered a candidate’s right to present his views, but at the same time a duty to the social group”, details the ruling.
Leftist Gustavo Petro, a contender for Hernandez and a veteran speaker of his time in the Senate, immediately agreed to participate in the presidential debate after Thursday, as required by the ruling.
“Court has ordered presidential debate between candidates. It’s the right of the people. I’m up for it,” he wrote on his Twitter.
The judicial decision protects the right of the Colombian people to participate in the formation, exercise and control of political power. It was filed by a group of citizens including some lawyers.
Luis Mauricio Urquijo, one of the plaintiffs, assured the Associated Press that the decision was enforceable immediately, even if it was the first time. “Filing an appeal against the decision does not suspend its compliance, as it is a position of constitutional rank where fundamental rights are involved.”