Bogota: Colombia returned to the polls
Sunday to choose a successor to President Alvaro Uribe, with
the popular conservative leader`s pick, a former defence
minister, heavily favoured to win the run-off.
Opinion polls forecast that Juan Manuel Santos, 58, will
draw some 60 per cent of the vote, more than double the share
anticipated for his rival Antanas Mockus, a former Bogota
mayor running on a Green Party ticket.
Voting in the Andean nation, which appears keen to
maintain political continuity in the face of an ongoing war
with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels,
began at 8 am (1300 GMT) and ends at 4 pm (2100 GMT).
Santos, the big winner in the first round of voting on
May 30 with 46.6 per cent against 21.5 per cent for Mockus,
has promised "to keep in place the legacy of Uribe, the best
president Colombia has had."
The courts rejected Uribe`s bid to seek a third straight
term, which has helped rally his supporters around Santos, who
served as his defence minister and oversaw successful military
campaigns against the leftist FARC rebels.
Santos, who is representing the conservative Social
National Unity party, has been endorsed by the Conservative
Party and the right-wing Radical Change, both part of Uribe`s