De la Calle, a former vice-president, said at a press conference he has “taken the decision to put my name to the disposition of the Colombian people as presidential candidate.”
The former peace negotiator has taken a leading role in promoting peace and reconciliation among Colombians ever since the peace process with the FARC came into effect on December 1 last year.
While rumors have been circulating about the De la Calle’s candidacy for months, the former negotiator refused to confirm these rumors until Wednesday.
According to Colombia’s latest presidential candidate, he will run for president either on a Liberal Party ticket or, if the liberals disapprove, independently.
A third option, De la Calle said, is running for president with the support of multiple parties that are supportive of the peace process he helped negotiate.
The candidate’s top priority, he said, will be to strengthen the peace process that has been marred by irregularities and post-FARC violence.
Additionally, De la Calle vowed to make combating wide-spread corruption a top priority.
Later this month “we will announce our concrete commitments,” the former negotiator said.
While loathed by the country’s hard-right to the peace process that includes far-stretching political reforms and a truth commission, De la Calle’s promotion and defense of peace has made him relatively popular among Colombians who support peace.
With nine months to go until the presidential elections, a number of candidates have announced to run for president.
Colombia’s new president will take office in August next year and be presented by a number of major challenges as the peace process is not the only issue on the political agenda.
The country’s economy has slowed down after the drop in oil prices in 2014 and the ongoing crisis in neighboring Venezuela has spilled over to Colombia, which has trouble dealing with at least 100,000 migrants and is close to breaking diplomatic relations with the neighbors’ increasingly authoritarian government.