Colombia’s top administrative court has declared the election of Senator Roy Barreras to be invalid in a decision that opens the door for other legislators to be removed from their seats.
The court, known as the Council of State, ruled that Barreras, the Senate’s current president and an important backer of President Gustavo Petro’s reform agenda in Congress, did not leave his old political party in time to run for election for his current party.
The senator breached “his duty to quit his seat 12 months before the registration deadline for congressional elections for the period 2022-2026,” the court said.
Barreras was a congressman for the Union Party for the People between 2018 and 2022, but was reelected in March 2022 as a senator for the Historic Pact for Colombia, the leftist coalition that Petro heads.
Barreras said on Twitter that he would respect the decision since “court rulings must be respected even when they seem unjust to me.”
As Senate president, Barreras has backed key reforms that Petro has put forth since taking office nine months ago, particularly moves to impose higher taxes on the rich.
Petro has also pushed reforms in labor law, healthcare, pensions, the judiciary and in the energy sector to transition away from fossil fuels.
The ruling is the latest reverse for Petro, who last week faced a revolt by three political parties who said they could no longer support his reform drive.
Responding to the revolt, Petro replaced seven members of his Cabinet, including his finance minister, and warned Congress of a “revolution” if it doesn’t approve his reform plans.