Financial Times | 6/18/2010 12:00:00 AM
Santos vies with World Cup in Colombia poll
June18--World Cup football and apathy could be Juan Manuel Santos’s greatest enemies in Colombia’s presidential poll on Sunday, when the centre-right former defence minister faces off against quirky former mayor Antanas Mockus.
“My two enemies are the World Cup and over confidence in the people,” Mr Santos told the Financial Times at his campaign headquarters in a leafy street in Bogota.
In the first round of voting last month, 51 per cent of Colombian voters abstained, when polls put Mr Santos in a dead heat with Mr Mockus, an irreverent philosopher whose anti-corruption, anti-violence platform fired the imagination of a scandal-weary electorate.
Mr Santos’s strong showing in that vote – just shy of an outright win – and his success in securing the support of the Conservative and Radical Change parties and prominent Liberal party members such as César Gaviria appear to have significantly extended his lead.
According to the latest polls, Mr Santos is garnering between 60.8 per cent and 66.5 per cent of the vote, against Mr Mockus, with 27 per cent to 28.3 per cent.
While quick to point out the dangers of over confidence or letting his guard down, Mr Santos is already talking like a president-elect.
“We are at a moment in our history where circumstances give us a tremendous opportunity to ... finally improve our social indicators like Chile did,” he said.
“Chile brought poverty down from 47 per cent to 13 per cent, it brought unemployment down so they even touched 4 per cent. We haven’t been able to lower poverty below 45 per cent, we haven’t been able to have one-digit unemployment. That’s what I want to do in the next four years.”
Read more here.
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.