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17 Jun 2014

Colombians vote for peace and for Santos

Re-election of incumbent President Jose Manuel Santos

Jose Manuel Santos was Sunday, June 15 re-elected to his second four-year term as president of Colombia. Santos secured the victory by 51% of the vote in the second round over his opponent Óscar Iván Zuluaga (45 %) supported by former President Álvaro Uribe. The turnout at the election was 48%.

As both candidates are placed politically side by side to the right of center with similar political agendas, so both candidates were expected to continue the current reform of economic and social policy that helped to lift the country significantly in the last 15-20 years. Therefore, the key issue in the election campaign was instead the ongoing peace talks with the guerilla movement FARC, or whether to return to the uncompromising position from Uribe's reign. Thus, the majority of Colombians endorsed the president's position by voting for peace and rejected the former President Álvaro Uribe's hardline rhetoric.

After the election victory, President Santos spoke:

"This is the end of 50 years of conflict in this country, and it is the beginning of a new Colombia"

On the president's peace agenda with FARC, there are six issues in the negotiations taking place in Havanna, Cuba:

- land reform

- political participation

- drug traffickinn

- rights of victims

- disarmament of the rebels

- the implementation of the peace deal

During the last 12 months, the parties agreed on the first three issues, and they now need to come to agreement on the rights of victims and disarmament of the rebels. These issues are thought to be the most difficult and are prerequisites for the actual implementation of the peace agreement.