Former presidential candidate, Marta Lucia Ramirez, of the Conservative Party has withheld from endorsing a candidate for the second round of Colombia’s presidential elections until Thursday, declaring that her party will not give its support to the “highest bidder.”
“We will not deliver to the highest bidder in the second round,” Marta Lucia Ramirez declared speaking in front of Conservative party supporters on Tuesday.
|“We are not going to deliver to the highest bidder, what we want is to defend what serves Colombia”|
The former presidential candidate, Marta Lucia Ramirez, said that the Conservative Party will decide by consensus which of the two choices for president her party will support in the second round, reported Colombian daily, El Espectador.
“We are not going to deliver to the highest bidder, what we want is to defend what serves Colombia,” she continued.
Ramirez declared that by Thursday the Conservative Party would have declared its support for either Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who won the first round of the election, representing the Democratic Center (Centro Democratico – CD) party, or incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos.
With regard to Santos, Ramirez said it would be hard to back his candidacy as he, “directly influenced the National Electoral Council to block my candidacy for three months.”
She also acknowledged constraints with regard to backing Zuluaga due to the, “conditions” he has placed upon the continuation of peace talks.
Zuluaga and Santos differ largely over the peace talks between the Government and the FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group, which have been going on since November 2012.
Santos who instigated the talks is encouraging a a rapid end to the process to achieve peace, whilst Zuluaga has said that, “he would demand the FARC to cease “all criminal activity against Colombians” before considering a resumption of talks with the rebels, who have been fighting the state since 1964.
The backing of the various former candidates could prove crucial in the second round of the elections, as Zuluaga won the first round with around 29% of the vote whilst Santos came second with some 25%. The dividing up of the rest of the electorate could be extremely significant in closing the gap between the two candidates.
Earlier on Tuesday, former candidate, Enrique Peñalosa, of the Green Alliance, declared that his party would not be endorsing Zuluaga.
The second round of the elections takes place on the 15 June.