Martes, 24 de enero de 2017

| 2010/04/23 00:00

Uribe Counterattacks

The government forces are trying to stop the Green tide rebuilding their unity under the banner of democratic security and with the President’s participation.

Uribe Counterattacks

Few weeks ago nobody thought that the current election campaign could be won by a non ‘uribist’ candidate. President Uribe’s popularity, the acceptance of ‘democratic security’ and the strength of the coalition parties candidates predicted a triumph of continuity in the first round, or even a run-off between two candidates allied to the government. The uribist bloc candidates, Juan Manuel Santos, Noemí Sanín and Germán Vargas, were very quiet.

However, since the legislative elections the Green Party began to produce excitement over the other parties. Groups on Facebook and citizen marches supporting Antanas Mockus fueled the idea that victory might not be so sure, and polls increased that fear a month ago.

Uribe's plans were also affected by the tight victory of Noemí Sanín in the Conservative Party primaries. If her contender Andrés Felipe Arias had won, a rapprochement with Juan Manuel Santos (from the U Party) would have been natural and easy. The President’s approval would have been enough to find any mechanism to add the Conservative and the U Party forces in order to keep a single uribist flag in the first round.

But the winner was Noemí Sanín, who from the beginning of her campaign insisted that the Conservative Party should reach the 30 May presidential elections with its own candidate. The bitter polarization between Sanín and former candidate Arias divided the party and showed that the road was not as clear as they believed previously.

Uribe’s supporters didn’t keep tight lipped. First, they waved the banner of "democratic security" to make clear that its continuity is assured only if the President’s successor is a disciple. Uribe attacked Mockus and hinted that the former Bogotá’s mayor didn’t have the qualities to carry on his politics. "Now they introduce themselves as the independent and honest candidates and try to ignore that this government has effectively fought not only the FARC and the paramilitaries, but all forms of violence, corruption and politicking", Uribe said to a radio station. To make Mockus look weak, he also said that the candidate was Bogotá’s mayor in 2002, when he was taking office for the first time and the guerrilla tried to attack the presidential palace.

The day before, Andrés Felipe Arias had also attacked the Greens leader, saying that "the FARC are not faced either with mimes nor sunflowers", to disqualify the potential of civic culture and symbols that Mockus used to attack insecurity in the capital.

Mockus answered the critics. He read some paragraphs of the President’s speech of 2003, in which he awarded him with the Police Star. Uribe acknowledged that the Mockus policy was a good mix of education for coexistence and strong exercise of authority. "I do not understand why now he says something different and also takes part in electoral competition," asked the former mayor.

Uribists have tried to curb the Green rise and shield Juan Manuel Santos candidacy. However, the strategy of attacking the former mayor, now the main contender of Santos, was not the only one. Throughout last week there were some movements to assemble a revolution in the Conservative Party, against Sanín's campaign and in favor of Santos. Arias supporters have joined Santos and some from the Liberal Party are also seeking political alliances with him.

Uribe’s speeches have caused controversy and some ask if they violate the rules that ban public employees to involve in politics. Last Friday, for the second time, Uribe received an injunction from the General Inspector Alejandro Ordoñez, who told him to remain "blind, deaf and dumb" during the presidential campaign.

Legal or not, is not clear that the President’s winks are effective. In 2006, he openly stated his preference for Enrique Peñalosa to be Bogotá’s mayor instead of current mayor Samuel Moreno. And in 2003 he openly campaigned for the referendum 'against politicking' which, however, collapsed because it didn’t reach the threshold.

Now, in 2010, the Green tide has shown that the continuity the electorate wants is compatible with a desire for change. What is clear is that Uribe has considered this aspect when designing his counterattack to stop the Green tide.

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