Officially: República de Colombia.
Seat of government: Bogotá.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly. The legislature (Congreso) comprises the Cámara de Representantes, elected in geographical constituencies, and the Senado, elected by party list.
Governing parties: Partido Social de Unidad Nacional (Partido de la U); Partido Liberal Colombiano; Partido Conservador Colombiano; Cambio Radical.
Head of government: Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, U, president (since 2010).
Other significant congressional parties: Centro Democratico; Partido Verde; Partido de Integración Nacional.
Assessment: A functioning democracy that controls only a part of the country that it is considered to govern. Colombia-wide elections have been held four times now, the first two (2002, 2006) won by rightist Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-10). Paramilitaries had pressured citizens to vote for Uribe in the first election, and against Liberal leader Horacio Serpa. A constitutional change allowed Uribe to seek a second term, which he won. A 2010 presidential election to replace Uribe went to a runoff between the Uribista Santos and Antanas Mockus of the Partido Verde, which Santos won handily. The governing coalition had a three-fifths majority in both chambers of Congress after the 2010 and 2014 elections. In 2014, Santos was narrowly reelected in a runoff, having actually finished second in the first round to Óscar Iván Zuluaga Escobar of CD. The continuing influence of Uribe is largely owing to his forceful approach to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. Santos, however, successfully negotiated a peace deal with the FARC. The first version was narrowly rejected in a 2016 referendum, with Uribe in opposition, but a final deal was ratified later in 2016 by the legislature.
FH: 3-4, partly free (democratic). Econ: 6.54 (60), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2017 December 22.