الأحد , يونيو 7 2020

Santos re-elected in Colombian poll

Juan Manuel SantosNearly 8 million Colombians voted for Mr Santos in the runoff election

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

Mr Santos won nearly 51% of votes and saw off his right-wing challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who had 45%.

Correspondents say the victory will be seen as an endorsement of the president’s ongoing peace talks with the leftist 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.

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

Santos supporters in BogotaSupporters of Mr Santos celebrated victory by writing the word “peace” in the palms of their hands

Oscar Ivan Zuluaga accepts defeatMr Zuluaga congratulated his rival on his victory, which he described as fair and democratic

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.

Talks in Cuba

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.

Nearly 48% of the 33 million Colombians registered to vote took part in the election.

Despite concerns in Colombia about high crime and unemployment, the campaign focused on the peace negotiations with the Farc, launched by Mr Santos in November 2012.

The talks, which are being held in Cuba, are aimed at ending five decades of conflict.

Mr Santos expects a deal to be signed by the end of the year, with the Farc giving up their armed struggle and joining the legal political process.

Government negotiators and rebel leaders have held several rounds of talks in the Cuban capital, Havana.

They have agreed on three points of the agenda drawn up in 2012 – land reform, future political participation and drug trafficking, which is allegedly the main source of income for the rebels.

Three other points remain to be agreed on – the rights of the victims, disarmament of the rebels and the implementation of the agreement.

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