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| 6/21/2010 12:00:00 AM

After Colombia election win, Juan Manuel Santos seeks to build on Uribe era

June 21--Juan Manuel Santos won the Colombia election yesterday with 69 percent of the vote – a clear mandate to continue the security policies of his predecessor Álvaro Uribe. But he also inherits Uribe-era scandals.

In Colombia's presidential elections on Sunday, Juan Manuel Santos secured an overwhelming mandate to continue the strong security policies of his popular predecessor, Álvaro Uribe. “This is also your victory, President Uribe,” said Mr. Santos, calling him one of the "best presidents" in Colombia's history.
 
But in order to lead effectively, Santos must quickly stamp his own mark on government, political analysts say. In particular, he must address the concerns of millions who voted for runner-up Antanas Mockus, a former mayor of Bogotá promising change in Colombia's corrupt political culture that led to numerous scandals under Uribe.

“The time has come for national unity, the time has come for harmony, the time has come for us to work together for the prosperity of Colombia,” Santos told a crowd of cheering supporters gathered in a sports stadium in Bogotá. He won 69 percent of the vote, while Mr. Mockus, running on the Green Party ticket, won 27.5 percent.

In a pre-election interview, Santos said his government would be different from Uribe’s in priorities and style. Uribe’s folksy manner won Colombians over in weekly town hall meetings throughout the country where he would micromanage even the smallest problems presented to him. Santos, from an elite Bogotá family, prefers to delegate.

“I rely on teamwork,” he said.

But just a new approach won't be enough, says Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas.

“[Santos] is going to have to show that while he follows the general course that Uribe has set, he is not beholden to Uribe," he says.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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