According to the last round of polls prior to next Sunday’s presidential elections in Colombia, Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus and Partido de la U candidate Juan Manuel Santos are in a statistical dead heat, leading a field of seven other presidential hopefuls. Polls released Saturday by broadcaster RCN and the weekly newspaper Semana, show Santos (who polled at 34 percent) with a two percentage point lead over Mr. Mockus in the first round of voting.
If neither candidate wins the necessary 50 percent of votes, a second round will be scheduled in June to determine the presidency. Under this scenario, if the second-round vote were held today, this weekend’s polls show Mockus leading Santos 45 percent to 40 percent.
Most observers agree that the candidates’ agendas are similar in many crucial areas: combating guerrilla groups, supporting open markets and fighting unemployment. Mockus’ commitment during the campaign, however, to a strict adherence to the rule of law and government transparency has struck a chord with voters, according to analysts. Santos has emphasized the need to continue the legacy of President Álvaro Uribe, whose policies are widely credited with having vastly improved security conditions and promoted economic growth.
What once looked like a predictable outcome in
The comfortable lead that presidential frontrunner and former defense minister, Juan Manuel Santos, once enjoyed in the polls is fading fast.
That’s largely due to the surge of Antanas Mockus, a former university rector, philosopher and two-time mayor of Bogotá, who just a few weeks ago was trailing in the polls with little more than 9 percent of the intended vote.
Now Mockus garners around 38 percent of the vote, according to a poll published yesterday. This is a clear advantage over his main rival,
The son of Lithuanian immigrants, Mockus is the presidential candidate for the new Green Party. But apart from the green tee-shirts he wears and the lime green ties he dons at televised presidential debates, there is nothing particularly green about Mockus. Green issues do not appear to be his passion and he barely mentioned climate change during the two televised presidential debates.
Marina Silva, a former environment minister who left President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government in 2008, announced today that she is leaving the President’s Workers' Party (PT) and “in talks with the Green Party in this period of transition" —a move toward what may be a possible presidential run in next year’s election. According to a Datafolha poll released last weekend, a Silva candidacy (3 percent support) would trail that of the current Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff (37 percent—PT) and São Paulo Governor José Serra (16 percent—Brazilian Social Democracy Party).
Adding to the speculation, the former Brazilian culture minister and renowned artist Gilberto Gil said that “the possibility exists” that he would join Marina Silva as her vice-presidential candidate if she invited him, as reported by Brazil’s Folha de São Paulo. “She wants to talk about her candidacy, about the party, about the Green Party” he said. “I haven’t received an invitation yet, but if she does extend an invitation, I prefer to tell her directly.”
Marina left her post in Lula’s government over disagreements with Lula’s environment agenda, while Gil, winner of seven Grammy awards, left in 2008 to dedicate himself to his music.
June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.