Juan Manuel Santos, former defense minister of Colombia and standard-bearer for outgoing president Alvaro Uribe’s Party of the U, received 69% of the vote in Colombia’s presidential runoff on June 20th, over 27.5% for Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus. The New York Times reports:
Dissatisfaction over Colombia’s social inequalities and resilient corruption during Mr. Uribe’s government had buoyed the candidacy of Mr. Mockus, the former Bogotá mayor, until a series of gaffes derailed his chances. Mr. Mockus, a soft-spoken intellectual and the son of Lithuanian immigrants, still ran one of the most innovative campaigns in recent Latin American history, using social-media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter, to champion an anticorruption platform and unconventional ideas like raising taxes.
But at times he seemed vague and indecisive, as when he proposed Costa Rica, a small country without an army, as an example for Colombia to follow, despite the fact that it is one of Latin America’s most militaristic countries. Mr. Mockus later reversed himself.
His Green Party also captured the imagination of idealists with pro-education posters that showed, for example, a pencil plugging the barrel of a gun. For others, however, Mr. Mockus, who acknowledged in interviews being hard to define ideologically, ultimately seemed a bit naïve.
Mockus stated that the Green Party “will exercise political control on the next government, without pressures” and that Greens will “continue to work with you to make Colombia a better country.” The Colombian Green Party recently entered the Colombian Senate with 5 seats.