Candidates Turn to Alliance Building in Colombia

June 1, 2010

by AQ Online

The two leading vote-getters in Sunday’s presidential election are now focused on building political alliances ahead of the June 20 run-off election.  Juan Manuel Santos of the Partido de la U (46.6 percent of the vote) and Antanas Mockus of the Partido Verde (21.4 percent) came in first and second, respectively, but neither secured enough support to prevent a second round of voting.  (See the full election results at VoteBien). With less than three weeks until the next vote, each candidate is now building out a larger base of support.

Santos can be confident that a majority of voters endorsed the current governing coalition, whose main parties—the Partido Conservador (PC), the Partido Cambio Radical (PCR), and Santos’ Partido de la U—together earned over 62 percent of the vote.

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Expecting an endorsement from the Conservatives, Santos has already announced his willingness to form a “national unity” government. PCR candidate Germán Vargas Lleras, who came in third, has not indicated yet whether he will offer an endorsement in the second round of voting.

The path to victory for Partido Verde candidate Antanas Mockus is much less clear. The former Bogotá mayor would need to win over nearly 8 in 10 of the votes cast for the four candidates no longer in the race.  Mockus will look for support from Polo Democrático Alternativo candidate Gustavo Petro, who won nearly 10 percent of the vote on Sunday. However, another potential ally, the Partido Liberal, has already announced that its supporters are free to vote as they choose.

Evaluating his chances of winning the run-off election, Mockus said on Monday, “It’s obviously possible, not probable, but it is possible.”

Tags: Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, 2010 Colombian Elections, Antanas Mockus

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