Former President Alvaro Uribe received the most praise and enthusiasm from the crowd during a victory speech given by Oscar Ivan Zuluaga after taking away the most votes in Colombia’s first round of presidential elections.
Zuluaga, who walked away from Sunday’s elections with a simple majority of 29% of the vote, gave a victory speech with 99% of voting stations tallied in a preliminary count.
Uribe’s former Minister of Finance began his speech thanking a long list of people including his entire family and his vice presidential running mate, Carlos Holmes Trujillo.
However, the biggest applause during his speech came when he thanked his political mentor and patron, former President Alvaro Uribe.
“U-ri-be, U-ri-be, U-ri-be,” chanted the crowd at the Uribe-formed Democratic Center (Centro Democratico – CD) political party’s headquarters.
Zuluaga was forced to stop his speech a number of times moving forward because audience members kept resuscitating the cheer.
The successful candidate has run his campaign largely on the popularity of Senator-elect Uribe, as few posters show the two apart.
The former president has also been the first to come to Zuluaga’s defense in the face of accusations of wrongdoing against the presidential aspirant.
Sunday’s electoral victor thanked losers Clara Lopez and Enrique Penalosa, and asked Conservative Party candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez — who came in third place — to support him in a second round run off against President Juan Manuel Santos.
Zuluaga concluded the speech by taking a jab at his now sole competitor, Santos, by attacking the president’s championed ongoing peace talks between the government and the FARC guerrilla group.
“We cannot let the FARC pretends to command the country from Havana. The president should not be manipulated by the FARC,” claimed Zuluaga.
The second round of presidential elections between Zuluaga and Santos will take place June 15.
- Zuluaga Press Conference (RCN Noticias)