1990 Colombian parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Colombia on 11 March 1990 alongside local elections and an unofficial referendum on electing a Constitutional Assembly.[1][2]


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. 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.

Whilst the referendum campaign remained unofficial, it was encouraged by the Ministry of Government. Voters cast votes with six ballots for various levels of government. The campaign encouraged them to add a seventh ballot, "la séptima papeleta", with their referendum vote on it.[3]


The campaign was marked by violence from left- and right-wing paramilitary groups linked to drug cartels. Several politicians were killed. Two days before the election the 19th of April Movement signed a peace treaty with the government and participated in the elections.[1]



Colombian Liberal Party4,470,85358.5466+8
Social Conservative Party2,383,36331.2138–5
Conservative National Movement147,9531.941New
Colombian Communist Party35,2740.460New
Metapolitical Unitary Movement23,2640.300New
National Popular Alliance4920.010New
Coalitions of parties358,2464.697
Other parties207,4582.722
Blank votes10,2420.13
Valid votes7,637,14599.78
Invalid votes17,0050.22
Total votes7,654,150100.00
Registered voters/turnout13,793,56655.49
Source: Nohlen[4]

Chamber of RepresentativesEdit

Colombian Liberal Party4,500,98559.12119+21
Social Conservative Party2,381,89831.2862–18
Conservative National Movement148,0461.943New
Patriotic Union26,6820.351–2
Metapolitical Unitary Movement22,5710.300New
National Popular Alliance6010.010New
Coalitions of parties301,6593.9610
Other parties219,9512.894
Blank votes11,2200.15
Valid votes7,613,61399.76
Invalid votes18,0810.24
Total votes7,631,694100.00
Registered voters/turnout13,793,56655.33
Source: Nohlen


Choice Votes %
For 2,235,493 95
Against 117,000 5
Invalid/blank votes
Total 100
Registered voters/turnout
Source: Direct Democracy


Following the unofficial referendum, President Virgilio Barco Vargas issued decree 927 on 3 May calling for a referendum on electing a Constitutional Assembly alongside the presidential elections on 27 May. 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.[5] The Assembly was elected in December 1990, and produced the 1991 constitution.


  1. ^ a b Elections in 1990 IPU
  2. ^ Colombia, 11 March 1990 Direct Democracy (in German)
  3. ^ Elections and Events 1990-1994 UC San Diego
  4. ^ Dieter Nohlen (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, pp333–346 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  5. ^ Colombia, 27 May 1990: Election of a Constitutional Assembly Direct Democracy (in German)