Como estaba previsto en las encuestas electorales y gracias a que el candidato presidencial Juan Manuel Santos se había erigido como el natural sucesor de Álvaro Uribe, los resultados de los comicios del domingo le dieron un triunfo arrollador al aspirante del partido de la U. Con 9 millones de votos, Santos alcanzó el 69% de la votación mientras su contendor Antanas Mockus, obtuvo el 27% y el voto en blanco el 3% restante.
Juan Manuel Santos se convirtió en el presidente No. 70 de Colombia y se echó sobre los hombros la nada fácil tarea de reemplazar a uno de los mandatarios más populares del último siglo en Colombia. Tiene dos opciones, sin duda cabalgar sobre su popularidad o enfrentarse a las prácticas mafiosas que tanto se criticaron de su gobierno. Algunos analistas estiman que Santos se rodearía de un equipo más tecnócrata y menos politiquero aunque en su acuerdo de unidad nacional le dio la bienvenida a todos los sectores, y en ellos entraron colados algunos altamente cuestionados en el país como la bancada del PIN, un partido cuyo principal líder, Juan Carlos Martínez, está en la cárcel La Picota. De hecho fueron las adhesiones públicas de los partidos Conservador y Cambio Radical y la de algunos militantes del Partido Liberal, las que le permitieron aumentar su votación en 2 millones 300 mil votos.
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Santos Surges in Colombia’s First Round as Polls Prove Inaccurate
Despite the fact that polls forecasted a near-tie in the Colombian vote, Former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos pulled in more than double the votes of his top rival, the Green Party’s Antanas Mockus. Still, with 46.6 percent of the vote, Santos fell just short of the requisite majority needed to win in the first round. Pollsters defended their surveys, saying that the shift in support for Santos grew as a result of voter discomfort with comments made by Mockus in the final days before the election. Colombian law requires polls to close 10 days before elections. A lack of accurate polling in rural areas and abroad may also have played a role. Santos and Mockus face each other in the second round on June 20.
AS/COA holds its annual Bogota conference on June 17, ahead of the second round of elections on June 20.
Read an AS/COA analysis on the first round.
Colombian Candidates begin Coalition ahead of Runoff
La Silla Vacía offers an analysis of how Colombian candidates Juan Manuel Santos and Antanas Mockus are seeking to build alliances ahead of the June 20 elections. With the remaining candidates from Sunday’s vote out of the running, Santos initiated a “National Front” to win over politicians from and supporters of the traditional Conservative and Liberal parties. Third-place-finisher Germán Vargas Lleras could be another important ally for Santos’ U Party. Meanwhile, Mockus indicated he would pursue a “citizen’s alliance” and the support of voters who abstained in the first round, along with parties that would like to form an alliance with the Green Party. The Democratic Pole, whose candidate Gustavo Petro won nearly 10 percent of the vote to finish fourth, may seek a coalition with Mockus’ party.
Colombians have a wide and strange array of options as they go to the polls this Sunday.
2,559 candidates are running for seats in the Senate, the Chamber of Representatives and the Andean Parliament; there seems to be a candidate for every taste. Some popular, if nontraditional candidates include the Partido de Integración Nacional’s (PIN) Benjamin Arrieta, (currently a Senator with the Convergencia Ciudadana party), who proposes free vasectomies and tubal ligations for the country’s poorest citizens and the Partido de la U’s María Fernanda Valencia, a former newscaster who promises to pose nude if elected. Cristián Fredy Murcia Guzmán, the brother of pyramid schemer David Murcia Guzman’s (DMG Holdings) is running for the Senate with Movimiento Apertura Liberal, on a platform that includes calls to restore his brother’s disgraced enterprise.
Complicating Sunday’s elections is a relatively new voting system first instituted in 2006. Intended to strengthen the country’s political parties and movements, Colombians will vote first and foremost for their favorite party. If the party has an open list, voters may (but are not obligated to) specify which candidate they support within that party. But if the party has a closed list (which some do), then the party will have already assigned priority rankings to its candidates and voters will not be able to specify their personal preferences. As a result, many votes may ultimately help elect candidates who are not the voter’s preferred choice. Fortunately, almost all parties for this year’s elections (excluding, most noteably, Movimiento MIRA for the senate race) have presented open lists.