Colombia chooses successor to Uribe
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Last Updated: Monday, June 21, 2010, 00:10
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 ruling coalition.


First Published: Monday, June 21, 2010, 00:10

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