Santos invites Vargas Lleras to join coalition

Uribista” presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos invites Cambio Radical leader German Vargas Lleras to join his coalition government, if Santos is elected president in Colombia’s June 20 runoff election.

“Remember that I said that if I weren’t in the presidential race I would vote for him [Vargas Lleras] … I repeat the invitation that he and his party form part of this great government of national unity … we need good people like him,” Santos said.

Santos said that he would respect whatever decision Cambio Radical makes about the offer.

Vargas Lleras also said prior to Colombia’s first round presidential elections that he would vote for Santos, if he did not make it to the second round.

Santos made the invitation in spite of strong opposition from some of his fellow party members, saying that the failed candidate is “welcome because he is a great Colombian.”

Uribista congressman Roy Barreras on Wednesday asked Santos to carefully consider inviting Vargas Lleras into the potential coalition ranks.

“I feel that we will get a great result at the national level without needing to submit to the patronage and bureaucratic pressures suffered by this government when Dr. German Vargas Lleras,” Barreras said, calling the Cambio Radical leader a “Trojan horse.”

Barreras sees Vargas Lleras as a traitor because the former Uribe supporter opposed the referendum seeking the president’s re-election and has been highly critical of Santos’ campaign for the presidency.

Colombians will head to the poll June 20 to elect their next president in a second round election runoff between Santos and Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus.

In last Sunday’s first round election Santos received 46.56% of the vote, and Mockus 21.49%, which suggests that while Mockus needs to form second round alliances with failed presidential candidates in order to win, Santos does not.

Vargas Lleras came in third in the election, winning 10.13% of the vote.

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