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| 3/23/2010 12:00:00 AM

Colombia ex-foreign minister Sanin wins Conservative primary

March 23--Former Colombian Foreign Minister Noemi Sanin won the primary election held by the center-right Conservative Party--a victory that could potentially split President Alvaro Uribe's supporters ahead of the presidential election in May.

Sanin and frontrunner Juan Manuel Santos are trying to position themselves as heirs to Uribe, who remains widely popular. Uribe was blocked from seeking a third consecutive term by a court last month.

"She's unlikely to win, and if she doesn't make it to the run-off, she will probably endorse the 'Uribista' who does," Bibiana Clavijo, professor of political marketing at Bogota-based Universidad del Rosario, said of Sanin.

With Sanin in the race, Santos, who leads the polls with about 27% support, is more likely to face a second round vote.
 
Read more here.
 
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