The Guardian | 6/1/2010 12:00:00 AM
Colombians say no to change
June 1st--Despite Antanas Mockus's widespread support, hopes for a progressive president of Colombia are fading.
This is the progressive nightmare – a realisation, familiar to John Kerry's supporters in 2004 or Andrés López Obrador's in 2006, that passion is no substitute for a majority. Sometimes most people don't want change. And sometimes those who want change don't vote.
Despite vociferous online campaigning, most eligible voters stayed at home. Of those who did turn out, 21% chose Mockus, amounting to fewer than half of the 47% who voted for Juan Manuel Santos, the conservative continuity candidate. When the votes cast for other rightwingers are taken into account, it seems Mockus wholly failed to seduce those who had voted for the current president Álvaro Uribe in the 2002 and 2006 elections. Instead, Santos inherited the bulk of Uribe's popularity: as he put it in his post-election speech, "President Uribe, this is your triumph."
For Mockus's supporters, the first reaction has been disbelief. They point to alleged vote-buying, political machinations, media bias and Uribe's support for Santos (a breach of electoral rules). But Mockus's defeat goes deeper. He lost in all but one of Colombia's regions, including in Bogotá, where he had twice been elected mayor. He ran on his record and on the promise of tackling corruption, and the voters decided it was not enough.
Read more here.
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