Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 December 2021
Colombia’s Partido Liberal (Liberal Party, PL) and Partido Conservador (Conservative Party, PC) are two of the oldest party organizations in Latin America. They both arose in the middle of the nineteenth century (in 1848 and 1849, respectively), and have participated in almost all national and subnational elections since then. Over their combined 170 years of history, they have managed to adapt and to survive changing conditions, both structural and circumstantial, and to maintain a substantial degree of electoral political power, although this has declined since the early 1990s. Even though both organizations are still able to win votes and elect candidates in popular elections, they do not always do so in a coordinated way. In addition, both parties have lost much of their ability to aggregate collective interests vertically. Therefore, this chapter argues that these organizations merit classifications as diminished subtypes. Taking into account their lack of vertical interest aggregation as well as their minimal degree of horizontal coordination, both the PL and the PC exhibit characteristics of the independent and uncoordinated party types (Luna et al. this volume). Both electoral vehicles still manage to compete in elections with relative success, but without representing a clearly defined electorate.