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  • Ivan Duque speaking at the Development Bank of Latin America-CAF in Bogota. Nov. 7, 2018.

    Ivan Duque speaking at the Development Bank of Latin America-CAF in Bogota. Nov. 7, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 16 November 2018

Colombia's new president witnessed the worst fall of approval rating in decades after the first 100 days of his government.

Colombian President Ivan Duque's image has plummeted after his first 100 days of government, according to two polls published Friday, the worst popularity decline since the 1980s.

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The polling firm Cifras & Conceptos, along with the media outlets Caracol Radio and Red Mas Noticias, revealed that Duque’s approval rate is barely at 33, while 65 percent of citizens have a negative view. The firm Ivamer sets Duque’s popularity at 27.2 percent, and his disapproval at 64.8.

“The disapproval of his administration went from 32.5 to 64.8 percent between September and November,” Ivamer reported.

And in Bogota, the capital city, his disapproval rate went from 37.1 all the way up to 71.3 percent. In total, 73.8 percent of Colombians think their country is moving in the wrong direction.

Cesar Caballero, director of Cifras & Conceptos, contrasted Duque’s numbers with previous presidents, showing the most drastic fall in years. All presidents between Cesar Gaviria (1990-1994) and Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) matched their approval rating to the percentage of votes during the elections in the first 100 days of their administration. In some cases, they even improved it.

But the polls were not all about Duque. Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez had an approval rating of 32 percent of those polled, while 55 percent disapproved of her, and 13 didn’t know who she was. Also, ex-presidents Alvaro Uribe and Juan Manuel Santos had 65 and 66 percent of disapproval, respectively.

To name a few positive aspects, people find Duque to be young (only 42 years old), charismatic, impartial, innovative and sensible. But he was also labelled as a president with no firm identity, no real depth, a puppet, a liar, a showman, and a hypocrite.

Among the reasons for his falling number are the unpopular budget cuts on education and the raising of VAT on basic goods, which sparked nationwide student-led protests in combination with rural social organizations. The measures also affected the Minister of Finance Alberto Carrasquilla, rated at 84 percent disapproval, and the Minister of Education Maria Victoria Angulo, with 75 percent disapproval.

When asked about the numbers by Blu Radio, Duque said he welcomed them with “humility and self-criticism.”

“I can’t turn the polls into an emotional anchor because the government would lose its direction. I govern thinking about what’s good for the country, not in what will bring me applause.”

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