Columbia Re-Elects Santos

Colombia Election_Cham640Juan Manuel Santos has won re-election in Colombia’s most dramatic presidential contest in years.

Mr Santos won nearly 51 per cent of votes and saw off his right-wing challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who had 45 per cent. Correspondents say the victory will be seen as an endorsement of the president’s ongoing peace talks with the left-wing Farc rebel group.

Mr Zuluaga had said he would halt the talks unless the rebels ceased all hostilities.

Mr Santos, 62, will be inaugurated in August for a new four-year term.

“This is the generation of peace. Millions of Colombians have chosen hope over fear,” Mr Santos said in an address to supporters at his headquarters.

“Thank you very much, Colombians! Your support means we will have to work even harder,” he said.

Mr Zuluaga, who had won the first round of voting in May by a narrow margin, accepted defeat in a speech to supporters in his headquarters.

He vowed to continue his fight to “defend the life and the liberty” of all Colombians.

He also thanked his political mentor, former president Alvaro Uribe, who will be sworn in as senator in August and is expected to lead the opposition to the government.

With almost all the votes counted electronically, results were announced one hour after polls closed.

There were no reports of major problems or irregularities, says the BBC’s Arturo Wallace in Bogota. — BBC


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