Weekly Roundup from Across the Americas

June 2, 2010

by AS-COA Online

From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.

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Santos Surges in Colombia’s First Round as Polls Prove Inaccurate

Despite the fact that polls forecasted a near-tie in the Colombian vote, Former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos pulled in more than double the votes of his top rival, the Green Party’s Antanas Mockus. Still, with 46.6 percent of the vote, Santos fell just short of the requisite majority needed to win in the first round. Pollsters defended their surveys, saying that the shift in support for Santos grew as a result of voter discomfort with comments made by Mockus in the final days before the election. Colombian law requires polls to close 10 days before elections. A lack of accurate polling in rural areas and abroad may also have played a role. Santos and Mockus face each other in the second round on June 20.

AS/COA holds its annual Bogota conference on June 17, ahead of the second round of elections on June 20.

Read an AS/COA analysis on the first round.

Colombian Candidates begin Coalition ahead of Runoff

La Silla Vacía offers an analysis of how Colombian candidates Juan Manuel Santos and Antanas Mockus are seeking to build alliances ahead of the June 20 elections. With the remaining candidates from Sunday’s vote out of the running, Santos initiated a “National Front” to win over politicians from and supporters of the traditional Conservative and Liberal parties. Third-place-finisher Germán Vargas Lleras could be another important ally for Santos’ U Party. Meanwhile, Mockus indicated he would pursue a “citizen’s alliance” and the support of voters who abstained in the first round, along with parties that would like to form an alliance with the Green Party. The Democratic Pole, whose candidate Gustavo Petro won nearly 10 percent of the vote to finish fourth, may seek a coalition with Mockus’ party.

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Tags: Alan García, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Colombian Elections, Hurricane, SB1070, China-Cuba