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Archive for Monday, May 31, 2010

Conservative Uribe ally dominates vote

May 31, 2010

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— A conservative former defense minister closely associated with Alvaro Uribe’s security gains easily defeated a maverick outsider in presidential elections on Sunday but fell short of the votes needed to avoid a runoff.

Juan Manuel Santos, 58, who vows to keep up the pressure on leftist rebels that fed President Uribe’s popularity, won 47 percent support in a field of nine candidates. Antanas Mockus, a former two-time Bogota mayor who ran an unorthodox clean-government campaign and promised to raise taxes, got 21 percent.

Santos, a Kansas University graduate, is a Colombian blueblood, the greatnephew of a president whose family long ran El Tiempo, the country’s leading newspaper. He needed a simple majority to avoid the June 20 runoff.

Only after a court in February barred Uribe from running for a third straight term did Santos announce his candidacy.

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