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More hats in the ring for 2014 presidency

posted by Benjy Hansen-Bundy
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All eyes are on four Colombian politicians who are aiming to keep the 2014 presidency out of the hands of anyone associated with the divisive former president Alvaro Uribe.

German Vargas Lleras, the current minister of housing, presents the most formidable foe to both Uribe’s new Centro Democratico party and the incumbent, Juan Manuel Santos.

BACKGROUND: Name of Uribe’s new political party is misleading: Congressman

The comparatively fresh faces of David Luna Sanchez, Carlos Fernando Galan and Cristina Plazas have also been labeled as potential challengers to the Uribe machine.

In order to run for president in Colombia, the candidates must leave the government at least a year in advance. The aforementioned politicians are considering resigning from their various public offices in order to satisy this requirement.

Vargas Lleras, a seasoned politician from the Radical Change party, comes from one of Colombia’s most influential political families. As housing minister, he is responsible for overseeing an ambitious project that aims to provide 100,000 free homes to poor Colombians within two years.

David Luna, the vice-minister of labor, will likely run for the liberal party. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Medellin in 2011.

The secretary of anti-corruption in the president’s office, Carlos Fernando Galan, is poised to return to the Radical Change party for a presidential bid. He quickly made a name for himself during his tenure on the council of Bogota (2008-2011), from which pedestal he repeatedly criticized mayor Samuel Moreno’s inefficacy. He then ran for mayor of the capital himself in 2011, but was unsuccessful. Galan is the son of Luis Carlos Galan Sarmiento, the presidential candidate who was assassinated in 1989.

Finally, the high presidential adviser on equality for women, Cristina Plazas, is likely to run as a member of the Uribismo party. Plazas has built an outstanding record since she began working on the council.

BACKGROUND: Uribe no longer belongs to coalition party: lawmakers

Although current president Juan Manuel Santos’ approval rating spiked earlier this week, nonetheless, the moves of these four potential candidates will be watched with great interest.

BACKGROUND: Santos’ popularity bounces back: Poll

BACKGROUND: Santos wants to be remembered for respect for freedom, rights

About the author

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After studying Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University, Benjy Hansen-Bundy traveled extensively in South America, before landing in Medellin. His work at Colombia Reports has focused on human rights and culture. Hansen-Bundy also writes for various travel blogs and for PolicyMic.

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