Séptima Papeleta

The Séptima Papeleta (lit. Seventh ballot) was a vote that emerged as an initiative by young students, which proposed to take advantage of the official elections of March 1990 in the country. Given that in these elections, there were 6 ballots, that of senators, representatives to the House, mayors, deputies, governors and councilors, the citizens sought to express with an additional vote, the seventh ballot, the demand to form a National Constituent Assembly to modify the Constitution of Colombia. The main motivations for generating this process were corruption, violence and the assassination of political leader Luis Carlos Galán, at the hands of drug trafficker Pablo Escobar. Although the vote did not have the legal support to force the Government to convene the Constituent Assembly: more than one million citizens deposited their vote with the other votes, the ballot for the Constituent Assembly, which had to bring the citizens to the ballot boxes on their own. Even some national newspapers published it so that people could cut it down and take it to the vote. The Registrar did not count these votes and therefore it will never be known how many were actually deposited, but the students who promoted the initiative attended the polls and counted those they could, verifying that there were at least one million. Thanks to this process, President Virgilio Barco decided to call a referendum to officially vote for the formation of the National Constituent Assembly during the following elections to the Presidency in May 1990. Information on the voting and formation of this Assembly can be found at LATINNO, since it has been documented as an additional case.

Institutional design


Formalization: is the innovation embedded in the constitution or legislation, in an administrative act, or not formalized at all?

Frequency: how often does the innovation take place: only once, sporadically, or is it permanent or regular?

Mode of Selection of Participants: is the innovation open to all participants, access is restricted to some kind of condition, or both methods apply?

Type of participants: those who participate are individual citizens, civil society organizations, private stakeholders or a combination of those?

Decisiveness: does the innovation takes binding, non-binding or no decision at all?

Co-governance: is there involvement of the government in the process or not?

not backed by constitution nor legislation, nor by any governmental policy or program 
Mode of selection of participants
Type of participants
democratic innovation yields a non-binding decision  


  • Deliberation
  • Direct Voting
  • E-Participation
  • Citizen Representation


  • Accountability
  • Responsiveness
  • Rule of Law
  • Political Inclusion
  • Social Equality

Policy cycle

Agenda setting
Formulation and decision-making
Policy Evaluation


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Pogrebinschi, Thamy. (2017). LATINNO Dataset. Berlin: WZB.

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