Colombia’s two remaining presidential candidates, incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos and his hard-line rival Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, are fighting to win every vote they can in Bogota which has an electoral potential of over 5.2 million votes.
Colombia’s capital city will mostly likely decide who wins the second presidential round between Santos and Zuluaga.
In the first round, Bogota voted for Zuluaga with 542,432 votes (22.9%), followed by the leftist Clara Lopez with 501,302 (20.4%), and Santos in third place with 444,051 (18.1%), according to the National Registry.
According to El Tiempo newspaper, the politics in the capital city of Bogota tend to be votes of opinion, making it much harder for the two remaining presidential candidates to get any more votes out of the city. The political fragmentation and endorsements has also made the choice harder for Colombian voters.
Santos’ efforts to retake the capital
The defeat of Lopez and the centrist Enrique Peñalosa will most likely favor Santos’s reelection in the capital. Bogota’s leftist mayor Gustavo Petro and former mayor Antanas Mockus’ backing of the incumbent will help Santos garner a significant portion of the city’s liberal and socialist vote.
Three secretaries along with 12 other government officials of Petro’s administration recently resigned their duties to help Santos win reelection.
Santos’ coalition of Liberal Party, U Party and Radical Change, and Uribe’s Democratic Center have activated their campaign machines in the capital city in an attempt to mobilize more votes for the second round on June 15.
Santos’ reelection team has split the city into 19 districts which are each headed by high level campaign officers and supervised by his running mate, German Vargas.
According to El Espectador, Santos’s campaign team hopes to gather another 800,000 votes for the second round on June 15, which will most likely be around 500,000 from Clara Lopez’s leftist Polo party and 300,000 from Peñalosa’s Green Alliance party.
Zuluaga’s defense strategy
Meanwhile, Zuluaga has implemented an intense door-to-door campaign.
The hard-liner’s movement has empowered local branches to conduct door-to-door visits in promotion of his candidacy. According to Democratic Center senator-elect Paloma Valencia, the movement makes emphasis on Zuluaga’s education proposals because it is what citizens want to hear most.
Democratic Center party leader Francisco Santos has been overseeing the door-to-door campaign of Zuluaga. Santos, a cousin of the president, is popular in certain sectors of the city for promoting the removal of Bogota’s mayor.
Former president Alvaro Uribe has also been campaigning personally in many of Bogota’s neighborhoods to help his protege win the presidential election.
Following the first round on May 25, one poll was released claiming both candidates were heading for a photo finish on June 15.
- Eleccion de Presidente y Vicepresidente 2014 (Registraduria)
- Dura disputa voto a voto para ‘conquistar’ a Bogotá (El Tiempo)
- Bogotá campo de batalla para Zuluaga y Santos (Semana)
- Por los votos de la capital (El Espectador)