Iván Duque Takes Charge in Colombia

Iván Duque Takes Charge in Colombia

A gust of wind struck the Plaza Bolívar in Bogotá while Iván Duque was sworn in as Colombia's president on August 7th. During his inauguration speech, delivered on a massive stage thronged with Latin American presidents and other dignitaries, a man struggled to shield him from a light rain with an umbrella. Seeking to banish the bitterness of a polarised election campaign, Mr Duque promised to “govern Colombia with a spirit of construction, never destruction”.

That was not the tone used by Ernesto Macías, the president of congress, who introduced Mr Duque and administered the oath. Mr Macías, a member of Mr Duque's Democratic Centre party, attacked the former president, Juan Manuel Santos, and vowed to modify the agreement that in 2016 ended a 52-year war with the FARC guerrilla group.

The contrast illustrates the main political difficulty that the new president will face: keeping the support of his party, which is militantly opposed to the peace accord, while courting other forces to enact his legislative priorities, including reform of the pension system, making courts more efficient and cutting taxes.

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