Colombia’s Partido Social de la Unidad, a coalition of parties that support President Álvaro Uribe, officially presented former Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos as its candidate for the May 2010 presidential elections on Monday. The next day, Santos chose Colombian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Angelino Garzón as his vice president and said he would offer Uribe a ministerial position if elected president. Garzón and Santos worked together in former President Andrés Pastrana’s cabinet between 1998 and 2002.
A poll conducted by Ipsos Napoleon Franco had Santos leading with 23 percent of the vote on February 27, the day after Colombia’s Constitutional Court blocked a referendum that could have allowed Uribe to seek a third consecutive term. Other candidates include Senator Gustavo Petro, former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo and veteran politician German Vargas Lleras. The Conservative Party has not yet named a candidate. Since it is unlikely that a single candidate will secure the requisite 50 percent in the first round of voting on May 30, a second round in June will likely determine Uribe’s successor.