Colombia: Santos re-elected president in runoff elections, pledges to continue peace negotiations with FARC
June 15, 2014
Incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos, who was running as candidate for the Social Party of the National Union (PSUN), was re-elected for a second consecutive term in the 15 June runoff presidential elections. In August, Santos will be inaugurated for another four-year term. Santos obtained nearly 51.0% of votes, while right-wing challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga of the Democratic Center (CD) party received 45.0%. Santos more than doubled the number of votes he obtained in the first round, a victory that was made possible in part by the political alliance he began crafting since the first round of elections with the majority of the leftist parties: the Patriotic Union (UP) and Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA) parties as well as the Progresistas movement.
Runoff elections were necessary because none of the candidates achieved the absolute majority that was necessary to win the first round of the presidential elections that were held on 25 May. Santos and Zuluaga were the two runoff candidates as they received the most votes at 25.7% and 29.3%, respectively.
According to analysts, Santos’ victory can be seen as an endorsement of his ongoing peace talks with the FARC that are aimed at ending five decades of conflict with the left-wing rebel group. Both candidates’ electoral campaigns focused strongly on peace negotiations with the FARC. While President Santos pledged to continue his effort to reach the peace accord that had been a focal point during his first term of office, Zuluaga said that he would end the talks if the rebels didn’t cease all hostilities. Under Santos’ administration, the official peace talks, which began in 2012, are designed to reach an agreement in five key areas: land reform and agricultural development; political participation of former FARC members; drug trafficking; ceasefire terms and ending the conflict; and victims’ rights. While agreements have been achieved on the first three points, the last two issues remain unresolved.