Colombian Elections: why I’ll go with Juan Manuel Santos.
Juan Manuel Santos - Presidential Candidate in Colombia
With less than two months to the presidential elections in Colombia, the race for the presidency gets a lot more emotional for those who somehow dream about the possibility of defeating the candidate of Uribe, Juan Manuel Santos, expected to become the big winner for most Colombians. For me personally it’s exciting to maintain long discussions with many friends who change candidates like they change their underwear, without any shame.
The political and electoral climate dominates the front pages of newspapers , radio and television newscasts. New political partnerships are negotiated and sealed without even waiting for the results of the first electoral round, which clearly indicates that there are several candidates that are aware of their lack of possibilities within the 27 million Colombians that acts to exercise their right to vote on May 31.
The first one to understand that was Prof. Sergio Fajardo, a former mayor of Medellin, who even did not managed to get enough votes in the parliamentary elections to make up his own party political. In this way, and taking into consideration his poor results in polls that placed him as the last in the presidential preferences, Prof Fajardo decided to run as vice president of another professor, the former mayor of Bogotá Mr. Antanas Mockus (of ukrainan origin).
Mockus was the winner of the primaries of the young Green Party -competing against two former mayors of Bogotá, Peñalosa and Garzon- with a relatively good image as major of Bogota, the Colombian capital.
Another candidate in difficulties, with low chances of moving to the second round is German Vargas Lleras, the candidate of the Radical Change party (Cambio Radical), previously one of the strongest pro-Uribe which four years ago decided to give up Uribe due to the initiative of President´s Alvaro Uribe second reelection.
Vargas Lleras has just published its intention to vote for Juan Manuel Santos if he can not get enough votes for a runoff.
There will be a runoff, due to the fact that none of the candidates reaches 50 percent of the votes in the first.
There is another presidential candidate. Her name is Noemin Sanin, and eight years ago she was then the presidential candidate of the Conservative Party that was defeated by Uribe. She then joined Uribe to become the colombian ambassador to Spain and nowadays she is back again into the colombian political arena under the conservative banner. She has not been able to avoid the desertion of several of the principal chiefs Conservatives, former presidents of the country and great patriarchs of the colombian conservatism. These conservative leaders have enlisted with Santos and Uribe, which is one of the things that can do more damage a presidential candidate. These conservatives can not forgive Sanin for being ambassador and former Minister for Uribe, they can not forgive her blatant change of party, change of political ideas and much less political opportunism.
Already there are those who dare to say that she could count on strong support from the Liberal Party candidate, Rafael Pardo, who would be much closer to Sanin, than to the ‘liberals’ Vargas Lleras and Santos, with whom he had serious fights, nearly of personal nature. But of all this nothing is completely certain. We are hereby talking about traditional politicians, and as usual anything can happen with them…
In that vein apparently the only one who does not have any plans for a possible political alliance is the former guerrilla fighter and parliamentarian Gustavo Petro, who despite of standing as a moderate and center left candidate, he has not been able to take of him this terrible tagline of being a guerrilla and former terrorist as a member of the subversive movement M-19.
Petro cleverly avoid any close encounter, flatter nor dealings with the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but despite this strategy the results in the polls show him down and increasingly losing popular favor.
I am a total optimist and I am almost certain that the “uribism” (folloers of President Uribe) will remain in office at least eight more years. I am convinced that at least two-thirds of Alvaro Uribe followers will end voting for Juan Manuel Santos, which will ensure him a clear victory next May 31st.
Now if the scene were a little more complicated and Noemi Sanin and the other candidates (the “teachers”) regained political ground during the next weeks, Santos would have the support of a large segment of the voters of the traditional Liberal and Conservative parties. Also he would have other important electoral support from the Party “Cambio Radical (Radical Change Party) which is in essence composed of many followers of Uribe.
It is clear that the great majority of the Colombians does not want more war in our country. But sadly the internal conflict has not yet finished and we continue to expect increasingly better military results in fighting terrorist groups and drug traffickers that still offend in the country.
This is the main objective of Juan Manuel Santos when he takes the office in Palace of Nariño. Santos symbolizes the continuity of the ideas of Alvaro Uribe, who could not stand for a third election contest because the Supreme Court found irregularities in the referendum procedures that the Congress had previously supported, even without putting into consideration the will of more than 12 million Colombians who wanted to have four more years of Alvaro Uribe as head of the country’s destiny.
Maybe a electoral alliance of the presidential candidates Fajardo and Mockus would surely give good dividends in the areas of education and civic culture, but not in other fields of government like security, governance, foreign affairs, because they (Mockus and Fajardo) lack the necessary experience to deal with these issues. The presidential candidate Mockus was recognized for doing some good things as mayor of Bogota, but he was not so efficient in using the public budget and had to return part of it.
On the other hand, when you look at the presidential candidate Fajardo, all I say is that I can see an honest and upright man, but he lacks experience, leadership, knowledge, courage and political education to aspire to be president. So Mockus sees him as his vice president, but I even dare to say that Fajardo being vicepresident would be too much due to his lack of political background and experience.
When I speak of these two teachers is because maybe they are the most popular among the undecided voters…
About Noemín Sanin, some “evil” tongues say that she will repeat the steps of Andres Pastrana, that means to open a “free territory” and seek a dialogue with the FARC. Many considered her too naive and opportunistic, and that Mrs Sanin will not do it to the runoff, specially due to the existence of many desertors among the members of her conservative party.
Ivan Gerardo Cruz - Contributor of Bloggers of The Americas
It is better not even mention the presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, the former guerrilla… The only thing I remember is that thanks to a stupid pardon, he today makes politics rather than being in jail paying for all crimes and murders.
So, please place your bets, gentlemen. I’ll go with Juan Manuel Santos.