The management of the Banco de la República is one of the positions most desired by economists and, in meetings of Board of Directors That remain of the year, Colombia must meet the new leader of the central bank.
History dictates that since 1993, when the Transmitter he replaced the old currency board, only three people have directed the Bank: Miguel Urrutia, who lasted 12 years in office (1993-2004); José Darío Uribe, for 12 years (2005-2017); and Juan José Echavarría, current manager since 2017 and who is seeking his first re-election, but his age would veto him.
Echavarría, who turns 69 in December of this year, has an impediment due to article 1 of Law 1821 of 2016, which stipulates that officials older than 70 years cannot hold public office, but, these days, the Constitutional Court comes studying a lawsuit against that rule and, if he were to knock her down, would give free rein to his wish.
The Board of Directors is made up of seven members: the manager, the Minister of Finance and five co-directors. If the current manager officially expresses to the other members his intention to continue in office, and they see it as viable, the election process would be easier, since it would be put to the consideration of the Board.
But the election is like that, the seven votes are taken into account, and the majority wins. In addition, each member can vote for himself.
The former co-director of the Issuer, Sergio Clavijo, explained that the procedure is “easy and expeditious when the intention of reelection has the support of the other members”, since the consensus is almost immediate.
The question remains in the hands of the Court because, if he knocks down the article in question and Echavarría is re-elected, he will have no problem in pursuing his position for four more years, but, if the claim does not succeed in court, he would only have endorsement to be one more year in management, because in 2021 he would be 70 years old.
In the absence of re-election, sectors, experts and think tanks agree that the current Minister of Finance, Alberto Carrasquilla, who already ran for the position in 2004, would once again have the intention of treasuring the Issuer’s leadership.
This doubt creates an environment of uncertainty about the independence of the Bank because if Carrasquilla occupies such a desired place, the Government would have high interference in the national monetary policy, since Iván Duque will also be able to appoint a new co-director on the board for serving half of his presidential term, as ordered by the Political Constitution.
To remember, in 2014, when Carrasquilla lost to Uribe, the current Minister said that it would not be viable for the head of the Treasury to direct the Issuer.