National Constituent Assembly :: Assembly

National Constituent Assembly

The National Constituent
(Spanish: Asamblea Nacional Constituyente de Colombia) was formed on February 5, 1991, to draft the Colombian Constitution of 1991. It was dissolved in June 1991, after the new document was adopted nationwide.


Throughout the later half of the 20th century, many different sectors of Colombian public and political opinion, both outside and inside the Colombian Conservative Party and the Colombian Liberal Party, had developed an increasing desire to extensively reform the nation's aging 1886 constitution into a more modern document, according to the changing needs and realities of the citizens and their context, as well as a way to curve ongoing violence.

Some felt that the previous constitution, in spite of several amendments that had been implemented (in 1910, for example), was no longer applicable as a whole and had to be discarded in favor of a more progressive document. Others recognized that despite the presence of what they saw as some enduring positive qualities and values (such as the open proclamation of Colombia as a Catholic nation, considered as essential by some), a greater degree of political pluralism and civil liberties was still necessary in order to better address the country's problems. Apparently only a relatively small number opposed any modifications outright.

In addition to all this, many critics felt that the country was exhausted of and needed a respite from what some called the "old political class", and that a new constitution would be of use in achieving that scenario.

Despite a generally positive attitude towards change among the population, most of the early attempts to call for an extensive amendment of the existing constitution (notably in 1957, under General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla) or to convoke a Constituent Assembly ultimately failed because of different types of political and congressional infighting, but the aspiration never disappeared entirely.

In particular, during the 1980s, as several rocky peace negotiations where carried out with guerrilla groups, such as the 19th of April Movement and the EPL, the desire to change the constitution as part of the potential peace agreements began to gradually become part of a wide national consensus.

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