Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Close Presidential Race in Colombia

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According to the last round of polls prior to next Sunday’s presidential elections in Colombia, Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus and Partido de la U candidate Juan Manuel Santos are in a statistical dead heat, leading a field of seven other presidential hopefuls. Polls released Saturday by broadcaster RCN and the weekly newspaper Semana, show Santos (who polled at 34 percent) with a two percentage point lead over Mr. Mockus in the first round of voting.

If neither candidate wins the necessary 50 percent of votes, a second round will be scheduled in June to determine the presidency. Under this scenario, if the second-round vote were held today, this weekend’s polls show Mockus leading Santos 45 percent to 40 percent.

Most observers agree that the candidates’ agendas are similar in many crucial areas: combating guerrilla groups, supporting open markets and fighting unemployment. Mockus’ commitment during the campaign, however, to a strict adherence to the rule of law and government transparency has struck a chord with voters, according to analysts. Santos has emphasized the need to continue the legacy of President Álvaro Uribe, whose policies are widely credited with having vastly improved security conditions and promoted economic growth.

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