Colombia’s Santos vs Mockus – Who will be the next president?

May 31, 2010

Colombia’s presidential electiCOLOMBIA-ELECTIONS/on had been painted like an establishment versus anti-establishment contest between Juan Manuel Santos – a former government minister and son of a wealthy family – and Antanas Mockus, who once dressed up as a superhero while mayor of Bogota and sent mimes into the streets to shame residents into obeying the laws. With a strong party machinery and the rural popularity of President Alvaro Uribe, Santos cruised to victory on Sunday when nearly 15 million Colombians caste their ballots, 47 percent for Santos – not enough to bypass a June 20 run-off but enough to send a strong signal of support for the former defense and finance minister. Opinion polls in the lead up to the vote showed Mockus and Santos deadlocked with no clear winner; the surveys said the same thing about the second round in June. But looking at a map of who won each province, Colombia is orange – the color of Santos. Only a single province was colored green for Mockus, trapped in the ginger sea. Alliances will be key for the run-off, but after securing only a fifth of votes, Mockus might find himself all but friendless. How would the country be different if Santos won versus if Mockus were elected?

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