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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-05-28

This Sunday Colombians go to the polls to choose President Alvaro Uribe’s successor. After eight years of Uribe government, nine candidates are vying to become Colombia’s 41st president. FRANCE24 asked some voters who they plan to vote for and why.

Colombians head to the polls on May 30 to elect a successor to the incumbent president, Alvaro Uribe. The last poll conducted on May 21 by Datexco showed right-wing candidate Juan Manuel Santos of the “Partido de la U” leading the race with 35% of the vote.

Trailing him by just one percentage point was Antanas Mockus, a centrist candidate of the “Partido Verde”. Noemi Sanin, the candidate for the conservative “Partido Conservador”, lay in third place with 9% of intended votes. Gustavo Petro of the “Polo Democratico” came fourth with 5%.

If neither of the candidates obtains more than 50% of the votes on Sunday, a run-off will take place on June 21 between the two winners. FRANCE 24 asked some Colombian voters who they would be backing and the reasons for their choice.

Antanas Mockus

Antanas Mockus

Guillermo Martinez, 61, is a farmer in Santander: “I think that Mockus represents a new and different path for the country. What I like the most about him is his honesty and the fact that he is independent. He is the anti-political candidate. In Colombia the word 'politician' is synonymous with 'dishonest'.”

Maria Andrea Duque, 30, works for Mockus’ campaign in the capital, Bogota: “I’m going to vote for Mockus because he will take up the fight against illegality. His campaign is all about education, and the need to create public schools as well as public universities. He also talks about educating people’s minds and teaching Colombians how to be honest and to stop doing illegal things.”

Neomi Sanin

Noemi Sanin

Paola Hernandez, 31, is a house cleaner from Santa Marta: “I’m going to vote for Noemi because she’s a woman. I would like to see a woman managing the country. I think it’s time a woman became president of Colombia. “

Christian Santamaria, 18, is a student in Tulua: "In the past 8 years, Colombia has ignored commercial and diplomatic relations with other countries in South America. Uribe's main priority has always been the United States. I would like to vote for Noemi Sanin because she would improve the commercial relations with other countries in the region and in Europe. Besides, she did a very good job when she was minister for foreign affairs during Cesar Gaviria's government [1990-1994].”

Gustavo Petro

Gustavo Petro

Iris Morales, 60, is a philosopher from Bogota: “I’m going to vote in the first round for Gustavo Petro. I really like his campaign manifesto, especially his proposal to tax Colombians living abroad. With this money he will create a common fund for social investment. He will also give retirement benefits to all the population, and not only those who had work.”

Sofia Salgado, 61, is a former diplomat living in Bogota: “I’m going to vote for Gustavo Petro. He has a very solid experience and would work on social issues. Social inequality is Colombia's main problem and it generates other problems like violence, drug trafficking, etc. During his years in Congress and the Senate, Petro led an important fight for social welfare. He has fought for land redistribution and against corruption.”


Juan Manuel Santos

Consuelo Londono, 68, is a housewife in Medellin: ”I’m going to vote for Santos because he will give continuity to Uribe’s policies. He will invest in national security and will keep fighting against the FARC. I really like what Uribe has done for the country and the fact that we feel safer and can travel by car.”

Felipe Cruz, 37, works as a finance manager in the capital: "I'm going to vote for Santos because of his economic policies. According to his campaign manifesto, he will generate employment and foreign investment by keeping tax rates at current levels. He would also improve national security and give foreign companies greater incentives to operate in Colombia."

Date created : 2010-05-28


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