Social Party of National Unity
Published 12th February, 2014
The Social Party of National Unity is also known as the Party of the U (Relates to Urubistas, members loyal to former President Álvaro Uribe) and was founded in 2005. The party describes itself as Centrist and believes in Urubism, Liberalism and the Third Way.
The party was formed to bring together all the followers of former President Álvaro Uribe most of whom come from the Colombian Liberal Party. However there are members from the Colombian Conservative Party and other smaller parties.
The party has taken a strong stand against lawlessness in the country and was one of the first to dismiss candidates who had any links with paramilitary organisations. The party has also taken a strong stand against the former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his Bolivarian Movement.
The party fought its first election in 2006 when President Álvaro Uribe was elected to serve a second term, the first time a president had been allowed to serve two consecutive terms. The party itself won 29 of the 163 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 20 of the 102 seats in the Senate.
In 2009 the party received a further injection of support when about half of the congressmen of the Radical Change Party joined. In 2010 the party selected former Minister of Defence, Juan Manuel Santos, as its presidential candidate and he won in the second round with 61.93% of the vote. The party won 47 of the 164 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 28 of the 102 seats in the Senate.
President Juan Manuel Santos has pursued a policy of holding talks with FARC guerrillas and other paramilitary groups; a line with which former President Álvaro Uribe disagrees (he believes FARC can only be beaten militarily). As a result, in January 2013 Uribe formed a new political party calling itself Democratic Centre (Centro Democrático).
The Social Party of National Unity is an observer member of the Liberal International.