On Tuesday, Bogota's Superior Court accepted a legal action brought by citizens and ordered presidential candidates Rodolfo Hernandez and Gustavo Petro to hold a debate on radio or television no later than Thursday.
The judges made this decision given that the far-right candidate Hernandez announced that he would not participate in debates, citing alleged threats to his safety. This affirmation, however, did not convince Colombians, who know that this politician lost in the first round and is below Petro in all voting intention polls.
The tutelary action requires the National Electoral Council (CNE) to urge the presidential candidates to appear in the debates, since citizens have the right to "receive truthful and impartial information."
The Colombians who presented the action recalled that such right implies "at least two debates prior to the elections during non-working hours." In this way, they seek that the candidates expose the details of their government programs.
"Justice has ordered the presidential debate. It's the people's right. I'm ready for it," said Petro, the Historical Pact leader whose running mate, Francia Marquez, might become the first Black woman to reach the vice presidency of Colombia.
For his part, Hernandez, the candidate supported by the Colombian establishment and mainstream media, said that “attendance at the debates is not an obligation for the candidates, but rather a discretionary power.”
On June 19, Colombians will take part in the second round of the 2022 elections to decide who will be their president for the period 2022-2026.