Elections

Juan Manuel Santos reelected in Colombia’s Presidential elections

posted by Daniel Medendorp Escobar
Juan Manuel Santos reelected in Colombia’s Presidential elections

Juan Manuel Santos (Photo: President's Office)

Incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos on Sunday was reelected by a margin of over 5% in the second round of Colombia’s elections, defeating Democratic Center Party opposition candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.

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Juan Manuel Santos

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Oscar Ivan Zuluaga

According the national election authorities, Santos won 50.92% of the vote.

Different from the first round of elections in which Zuluaga took a 3.5 point lead, the president won Bogota, the nation’s capital, with the largest number of voters. In the May 25 round, he placed third.

Santos also took the vote in the regions most affected by guerrilla groups, including the states of Putumayo, Nariño, Cauca and Norte de Santander.

Zuluaga won 45.03% of the vote and took most of the states in the coffee-growing region, including the Uribe-supporting state of Antioquia, in addition to states in the Llanos, Colombia’s grassland states in the east. Ex-President Alvaro Uribe’s party supported the candidacy of Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, and Uribe campaigned heavily for him.

Peace played a role in the reelection

Santos’ campaign heavily emphasized the ongoing peace process with the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, in Havana, Cuba. His campaign slogans in the second round were, “With peace, we will do more,” and “We’ve done a lot, there is still a lot to do,” reflected in his policies that highlighted the achievements of his administration in addition to making promises about the second term.

Santos accused Zuluaga during debates of wanting a “war without end”, while he emphasized his commitment to the peace process. The Colombian government also recently announced a formal peace process with the second-largest rebel group in the country, the ELN.

The first round of elections, held May 25 of this year, saw Zuluaga with 29.25% of the vote and Santos receive 25.69%. Since no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, a second round of elections is mandated by law.

Broad support base

Santos received the support of a broad spectrum of Colombian politicians, ranging from far-left to far-right, most citing his commitment to the peace process as the main reason for their vote in his favor.

In the 2010 presidential elections, Santos had the tacit support of now his predecessor, although he quickly broke with Uribe after warming up to neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador.

Uribe started his own party in January of 2013, the Democratic Center Party, which nominated Zuluaga as its candidate for the 2014 presidential elections.

Sources

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