Work starts for Santos after Colombia election win
After weeks of waiting, Colombia’s presidential election run-off was so one-sided it was over in minutes.
Former Bogota mayor and Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus had appealed to voters with his challenge to traditional parties and a call for cleaner government.
But in the end they overwhelmingly chose ex-finance and defense minister Juan Manuel Santos, who promised to continue the security and pro-business policies made popular by his former boss, President Alvaro Uribe.
As soon as results began to flood in from polling stations, the winner was clear: Santos ended up taking 69 percent of votes and a historic record of more than nine million ballots in total.
In an emotional concession speech, Mockus congratulated his rival and thanked supporters who he said had changed the face of Colombian politics forever with their appeal for a fresh approach to running the country.
Then attention shifted to the stadium where Santos’ victory rally was launched by dancers and musicians waving flags.
To cheers, Santos praised Mockus and Uribe, and vowed to lead a united nation that sought a leadership role in Latin America.
In the cold light of the morning after, the markets responded positively to his win.
And although he will only take office in August when Uribe steps down, Santos faces a raft of challenges and will have to start work straight away.
Top of his to-do list will be tackling a stubborn deficit and the region’s highest unemployment rate, maintaining his predecessor’s security gains against the rebels, and improving fractious relations with Hugo Chavez, the socialist president of neighboring Venezuela.
He may be the current leader’s hand-picked successor, but will Santos satisfy Colombians who responded to Mockus’ pledge to end corruption and scandals that soured Uribe’s second term?
Is he the man for the job?