1990 Colombian Constitutional Assembly election

Constitutional Assembly elections were held in Colombia on 9 December 1990 alongside a referendum on the Assembly itself.[1][2] The Assembly sat from February to July 1991 and drew up the 1991 constitution.


After the murder of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán in August 1989, students started a movement calling for a referendum "for peace and democracy" to be held on 21 January 1990.[3] However, under pressure from drug cartels, the government rejected the proposal. The students then set up the "We can still save Colombia" movement, which called for a referendum alongside the general elections on 11 March 1990 on establishing a Constitutional Assembly. The referendum saw 2,235,493 voted in favour and 117,000 vote against.[3]

Following the unofficial referendum, President Virgilio Barco Vargas issued decree 927 on 3 May calling a referendum on electing a Constitutional Assembly alongside the presidential elections on 27 May.[4] Although this was in violation of article 218 of the constitution, which gave Congress sole rights to reform the constitution, the referendum was approved by the Supreme Court.[4]

After 95% of voters approved of the election of the Assembly, elections were set for December. However, new President César Gaviria chose to reinforce the legitimacy of the Assembly by holding a second referendum on its election.[5] Only those who voted "yes" in the referendum could then cast a vote for the Assembly.[4]

The Assembly was elected by proportional representation in a single nationwide constituency.[6]


Constitutional AssemblyEdit

Colombian Liberal Party1,070,19329.0324
19th of April Movement992,61326.9319
National Salvation Movement574,41115.5811
Colombian Conservative Party423,77511.509
Christian Union Movement115,2013.132
Patriotic Union95,0882.582
United Student Movement64,7111.761
National Indigenous Organization of Colombia31,7830.861
Movement for a New Country for the Children24,6250.671
Indigenous Authorities of Colombia22,4430.611
Metapolitical Unitary Movement20,2250.550
Socialist Workers' Party5,1530.140
Blank votes37,7351.02
Reserved seats for guerrilla groups4
Valid votes3,686,09099.34
Invalid votes24,4670.66
Total votes3,710,557100.00
Registered voters/turnout14,237,11026.06
Source: Nohlen

Following the elections, four seats were given to guerrilla groups; two to the Popular Liberation Army, one to the Movimiento Armado Quintin Lame and one to the Workers Revolutionary Party.[7]


Choice Votes %
For 2,988,963 97.58
Against 74,055 2.42
Invalid/blank votes
Total 3,710,557 100
Registered voters/turnout 14,237,110 26.06
Source: Direct Democracy


  1. ^ Elections and Events 1990-1994 UC San Diego
  2. ^ Colombia, 9 December 1990: Election of a Constitutional Assembly Direct Democracy (in German)
  3. ^ a b Colombia, 11 March 1990 Direct Democracy (in German)
  4. ^ a b c Colombia, 27 May 1990: Election of a Constitutional Assembly Direct Democracy (in German)
  5. ^ Anita Breuer (2007) Institutions of Direct Democracy and Accountability in Latin America’s Presidential Democracies Democratization, Vol 14, No 4, August 2007, pp 554–579
  6. ^ Dieter Nohlen (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p320 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  7. ^ Nohlen, p321