Opposition senator urges to abstain from endorsing Colombia’s presidential candidates

Jorge Robledo (Photo: La Patria)

Prominent Colombian opposition Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo urged his party on Thursday to refrain from endorsing either of presidential candidate in the upcoming second round of elections, reported daily El Espectador.

As incumbent President and candidate Juan Manuel Santos and conservative candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga battle for endorsements from the defeated of last Sunday’s first-round presidential race, prominent leftist senator Jorge Enrique Robledo urged his party, the Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo – PDA), to not officially endorse any candidate.

Quoted by El Espectador, Robledo stated “Nobody should be obligated to vote for anybody, vote in blank or not vote at all. The respectable vote should be free.”

Individual PDA endorsements

The leftist PDA has not taken an official stance on the second round of elections. Whereas some members have not yet defined their endorsement, such as the first-round presidential candidate for the PDA Clara Lopez, others have rushed to support Santos, including Senator-elect Ivan Cepeda and first-round running mate Aida Avella.

Cepeda urged his supporters to vote for Santos to block the intentions of “Uribismo” – the political movement behind former President Alvaro Uribe – manifesting itself through the CD candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.

Lopez’s endorsement of the ongoing peace process between the Colombian government and FARC rebels – perhaps the most contentious issue in the upcoming presidential elections – in addition to a recent meeting with Santos, have produced the belief of a tacit endorsement of Santos.

First round of elections

The first round of elections, held on 25 May failed to produce a winner with over 50% of the vote requiring by law a second round, which will be contested between incumbent President and U candidate Juan Manuel Santos, and CD candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga. The PDA candidate, Clara Lopez, received fourth place in the elections with 15.23% of the total vote.

MORE: Colombia 2014 presidential election results (1st round)

Polls for the second round, slated for 15 June, have shown Santos and Zuluaga neck and neck, making an official endorsement from the PDA an important component for the reelection campaign of President Juan Manuel Santos.

Forging alliances

Two presidential candidates from the first round of elections now have an official position with respect to the upcoming second round. Green Alliance (Alianza Verde – AV) candidate Enrique Peñalosa has stated that he will not publicly support either candidate, while other sectors of his party have urged citizens to vote for Juan Manuel Santos.

MORE: Sector of Green Alliance to vote for Santos in second round

The Conservative Party is split between Zuluaga and Santos. First-round presidential candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez publicly endorsed Zuluaga, causing a flip-flop by Zuluaga on the peace process between the FARC and the Colombian government in Cuba. Conservative congressmen also recently endorsed Santos causing a divide within the party.

MORE: 40 conservative congressmen support re-election of President Santos

Ramirez campaigned on supporting the peace talks with condition that the FARC stop recruiting children and cease their terrorist activity.

MORE: New conservative alliance sees Zuluaga flip-flop on Colombia’s peace talks


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