Colombia’s largest leftist party won’t endorse either remaining candidate in the upcoming second-round of presidential elections, according to its leader and first-round presidential candidate Clara Lopez, who was quoted in Colombia’s media late on Thursday.
As incumbent President and candidate Juan Manuel Santos and conservative candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga battle for endorsements from the now-eliminated candidates of last Sunday’s first-round presidential race, the leftist Colombian party Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo – PDA) voted unanimously against endorsing a particular candidate, opting instead for allowing their followers to choose a blank vote, abstain completely, or vote freely for the candidate of their choice.
|“Even though we did not reach the number of votes to compete in the second round of Presidential elections, we will continue to defend and promote our program that does not coincide with the two candidates that will compete for the presidency on 15 June 2014.”|
“Even though we did not reach the number of votes to compete in the second round of Presidential elections, we will continue to defend and promote our program that does not coincide with the two candidates that will compete for the presidency on 15 June 2014,” said Lopez, in a release on the PDA’s official website.
The PDA stated that it would support peace, but not the candidacy of Juan Manuel Santos, citing that the peace process alone was not enough to bring the PDA to fully support Santos, according to online political news website La Silla Vacia.
Declarations from other PDA members
Thursday, prominent PDA Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo urged his party on Thursday to refrain from endorsing either of presidential candidate in the upcoming second round of elections, while other members of the party chose to endorse Santos, including Senator-elect Ivan Cepeda and first round vice-presidential candidate Aida Avella.
Senator-elect Cepeda was quoted by Bogota‘s W Radio as saying, “I don’t want a paramilitarized country, I want a democratic country and we cannot allow this hell [the Colombian armed conflict] to return to Colombia,” referencing his endorsement of Santos because of his support of the peace process.
Clara Lopez, although meeting with Santos himself and former President and debate chief for the incumbent President Cesar Gaviria, declared that her party would not endorse anybody, despite the belief that those actions may have indicated tacit support for Santos
First round of elections
The first round of elections, held on 25 May failed to produce a winner with over 50% of the vote requiring by law a second round, which will be contested between incumbent President and U candidate Juan Manuel Santos, and CD candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga. The PDA candidate, Clara Lopez, received fourth place in the elections with 15.23% of the total vote.
Polls for the second round, slated for 15 June, have shown Santos and Zuluaga neck and neck, which would have made an official endorsement from the PDA an important component for the reelection campaign of President Juan Manuel Santos.
Two presidential candidates from the first round of elections now have an official position with respect to the upcoming second round. Green Alliance (Alianza Verde – AV) candidate Enrique Peñalosa has stated that he will not publicly support either candidate, while other sectors of his party have urged citizens to vote for Juan Manuel Santos.
The Conservative Party is split between Zuluaga and Santos. First-round presidential candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez publicly endorsed Zuluaga, causing a flip-flop by Zuluaga on the peace process between the FARC and the Colombian government in Cuba. Conservative congressmen also recently endorsed Santos causing a divide within the party.
Ramirez campaigned on supporting the peace talks with condition that the FARC stop recruiting children and cease their terrorist activity.
- Polo llama a su militancia a decidir por quién votar, en blanco o abstenerse en segunda vuelta (Polo Democrático Alternativo Website)
- Polo dejó en libertad a sus electores para segunda vuelta (W Radio)
- La izquierda respalda la paz pero no se la juega en pleno por Santos (La Silla Vacía)