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Americas

Defence minister resigns with a view to the presidency

Latest update : 2009-05-18

Colombian Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos (pictured) has resigned and is considering a run for the presidency in 2010. Lawmakers are meanwhile debating a bill that would allow incumbent President Alvaro Uribe to run for a third term.

REUTERS - Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos resigned on Monday to run for the presidency in 2010 if popular President Alvaro Uribe decides to step aside when his second term ends.

 

Uribe, popular for his tough campaign against leftist rebels, is still mulling another term and lawmakers are currently debating a proposed referendum to allow the conservative president to run again next year.

 

"If he decides against running for another re-election, I will be a candidate," Santos told reporters. Santos added he would support Uribe if the president sought another term.

 

A recent poll showed Santos would be a strong candidate for the presidency as he represents the continuity of Uribe's security policies. But he would face a tough challenge from former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo, an independent.

 

Santos, a former newspaper editor and finance minister, belongs to one of Colombia's most influential families. He is a leading member of Uribe's political party.

 

As defense minister, Santos oversaw a string of successful strikes against leftist FARC rebels. But during his time the armed forces were also rocked by scandals over soldiers killing civilians to present them as guerrillas slain in combat.

 

Date created : 2009-05-18

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