From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Mockus, Santos in a Tight Race ahead of Colombian Elections
Campaigning for Colombia’s presidential elections closed on May 23, a week before Colombians head to the voting booths. Recent polls show the two frontrunners—Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus and U Party candidate Juan Manuel Santos—in a close race, with neither pulling in more than 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a June runoff election. According to an Invamer Gallup poll released on May 24, 37.5 percent of voters would pick Santos, compared to 35.4 percent who would pick Mockus. Should the election go to a second round, the poll shows that Mockus would pull in 48.5 percent compared to 43 percent for Santos.
Commander of Colombian Armed Forces Resigns
General Freddy Padilla, commander of Colombia’s Armed Forces, submitted his resignation to President Álvaro Uribe last week after 40 years of service in the country’s army. Although Padilla has been credited with striking heavy blows to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, his term has also been marked by controversy due to incidents such as the “false positives” scandal. Uribe accepted Padilla’s resignation on May 24. Padilla requested to stay in his post until August 7, when Uribe’s presidential term comes to an end.