The Washington Post | 5/31/2010 12:00:00 AM
Santos handily wins first round of Colombian presidential election
May 31st--A former defense minister who would continue President Álvaro Uribe's tough anti-guerrilla policies handily defeated a former Bogota mayor Sunday in the first round of presidential elections.
"It's quite a landslide," said Cynthia Arnson, a Colombia scholar at Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center. "It pretty much seems to me that Santos has a lock on the second round."
Santos took 46.6 percent of the vote -- or 6.7 million voters, more than double the 3.1 million who voted for Mockus. In the second round, he can count on many of the pro-Uribe voters who backed Germán Vargas Lleras, the third-place finisher, and Noemi Sanin, a former Uribe administration diplomat who finished a distant fifth.
Mockus, also 58, had risen in the polls in recent weeks, appealing to voters captivated by his message of delivering clean government. "Mockus is talking about building confidence, of a positive attitude in addressing the nation's problems," said Ernesto Correa, 56, a doctor.
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