How Aida Merlano’s statements affect Alex Char’s campaign

Alejando Char‘s decision to go ahead with his presidential campaign after being hit by the declarations of the former senator and fugitive from justice Aida Merlano , imply that the pre-candidate will not only have to defend himself legally from the accusations, but now he will have to go out to debate in public, which until now he had avoided.

(Also: ‘Aida Merlano will be denounced for false testimony’: Álex Char’s lawyer)

That is one of the readings that political scientists, university professors and journalists consulted by EL TIEMPO they maintain, when explaining how the campaign of the former mayor of Barranquilla would be affected, after Merlano’s accusations.

Luis Fernando Trejos, director of the UNCaribe Thought Center, considers that it is undeniably the affectation of the image of the candidate, what which can translate into the loss of opinion votes, but, he explains, “it must be taken into account that his campaign is not sustained by opinion votes but by a large electoral infrastructure (machinery) that would be complemented by those that the other members of its coalition.”

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His campaign is not based on the opinion vote but on a large electoral infrastructure (machinery)

What is clear, adds Trejos, is that in the midst of this particular situation, “his strategy of not debating in public and using Tiktok a lot can give an advantage to his competitors inside and outside his coalition.”

Alejandro Blanco, a doctor in political science, explains that a large part of Alejandro Char’s pre-candidacy for the presidency has been grounded in him as a person. He remembers that Char has often tried to show on social media a solid family full of traditional values.

“Therefore, given the circumstances, Merlano’s testimony has transcended from the personal to the public sphere. Intentionally, the pre-candidate Char took it upon himself to link his family and his personal life as part of his campaign strategy”, says Blanco.

As for the judicial effects that they could generate, Blanco estimates that they would not be immediate, and thinks that the first results of the investigation could take more than six months and the presidential elections are within three months. “For this reason, the legal viability of his pre-candidacy, so far, would not be affected.”

I don’t think gossip hurts local powers. However, if evidence were found, surely yes

The case that continues to move on social networks is seen by the university professor Jair Vega, as nothing new for the city, indicating that many of the things he says have been part of everyday Vox Populi for a long time.

Vega states that it is not strange for the city that the Gerlein group through Valorcon has been one of the mega-contractors of the Char house.

“The important thing here is not to pre-judge and not leave everything to gossip, but rather that both the press and the control and justice bodies investigate and contribute to clarity. I don’t think gossip hurts local powers. However, if evidence were to be found, surely yes,” he says.

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For the political scientist Jessyka Manotas, one cannot lose sight of the fact that The relationship between Char and Merlano is not only a matter of the private sphere, since this case acquires importance in the public and political agenda, from all the revelations that imply possible crimes of corruption and even a complaint for rape and attempted of murder

she considers that while the investigations progress, the analysis cannot be diverted or minimized to memes or ridicule on networks and should invite reflection on the traditional political structures and practices in the Caribbean Region and their impacts on our culture democratic.

On the other hand, Manotas maintains, it is clear that Alejandro Char’s main electoral base is concentrated in the Caribbean Region, as shown by the most recent survey by the National Consulting Center, which shows a voting intention of the 19% in this part of the country, only surpassed by Gustavo Petro.

“However, in other regions (Coffee region, Antioquia, center…) Char does not have the same level of recognition and political support, and this scandal further affects the perception of his image, especially in more conservative sectors and with opinion votes in the interior of the country, taking into account the wide dissemination that this case has had in the media and social networks, where much of the national discussion is concentrated,” he says.

The political analyst warns that this fact could negatively affect the pre-candidate who has built his messages and narratives based on his image or personal figure as a leader, even above country-specific proposals or agendas.

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“It is important to wait for the results of future measurements in order to assess the impact that this situation may eventually have on the intention to vote in the Caribbean Region and the rest of the country or if its political communication strategy and the power and influence that the Char family has over various regional media is enough to lower the tone to these events, although it is a difficult scenario considering the proximity of the voting”, he stresses.

Political journalists have also delved into the issue and the political connotations it would have , as is the case of Jean Pier Serna , who recognizes that Char is very strong in the Colombian Caribbean and estimates that he aspires to obtain one million 700 thousand votes in the entire region, 700 thousand of which should get out of the Atlantic for what you are working for. “The greatest difficulty for him can be generated in the opinion vote.”

While Edgar Salas on his website, where he permanently analyzes the political activity, especially in Magdalena, assures that this fact will not affect Alejandro Char’s proselytizing campaign at all, the Caribbean receives the fact as a singular personal situation.

Salas remembers Gabo to conclude: “here there has been no nothing happened, we are a happy people, people will say and when Char arrives they will shout President! The man with the cap”.

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