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Americas

Colombian ex-president Uribe to attempt comeback as senator

© Photo: AFP

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2013-09-17

Colombia's former conservative president Alvaro Uribe (pictured) has announced that he is returning to politics, leading his newly-formed Democratic Centre movement in next year’s parliamentary elections.

Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe confirmed widespread rumours that he was planning to return to the forefront of politics on Monday, telling reporters he was launching his bid to become a senator in parliamentary elections five months away.

Uribe, 61, will head the candidates’ list for his newly formed Democratic Centre movement, hoping to turn his own high popularity into parliamentary seats for his political allies.

Credited for leading a merciless and largely successful campaign to wipe out Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Uribe ruled from 2002 to 2010 and is constitutionally barred from serving a third presidential term.

A staunch conservative and hawk, Uribe has become a fierce critic of President Juan Manuel Santos, even though the two hail from the same party.

“We want to help confront the deterioration in security, growing uncertainty for investment, stagnation in a bureaucratic social policy, the waste of official resources,” Uribe told reporters at a press event at his home near the north-western city of Medellin.

The former head of state has been one of the most vocal critics of ongoing peace talks with FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group. The Santos administration launched negotiations – initially in secret – almost immediately after the president was sworn in to office.

Regional observers said Colombia’s upcoming election season represented a serious threat to the eventual success of peace talks, especially with Uribe back on the scene.

In an interview with FRANCE 24 last month, Marc Chernick, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University, said the campaign would give the ex-president an opportunity to amplify his bitter opposition to peace talks.

Santos has seen his approval rate wither away amid protests from farmers that brought violence to the capital last month. He has until November to decide if he will seek a second term.

Colombia’s parliamentary elections will be held in March 9, with presidential elections to follow on May 25.

Date created : 2013-09-17

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