Presidential candidates for Colombia’s left leaning parties the Democratic Pole (Democratic Pole – PDA) and the Patriotic Union (Union Patriotica – UP), are reportedly set to become running mates in an effort to unite voters on the left, reported Semana magazine Thursday.
Presidential candidate Aida Avella of the UP has reportedly agreed to terminate her presidential bid and join the PDA’s candidate Clara Lopez as her running mate.
The two candidates and parties have reportedly been negotiating a strategy for weeks to team up in hopes of drawing a greater percentage of the electorate on election day, May 25 of this year.
The agreement comes less than a week after Sunday’s congressional elections. Both parties faired rather poorly in the elections which could have encouraged the two candidates to come to an agreement more quickly.
The PDA gained slightly less than 2% of the vote in the House of Representatives, resulting in three seats. This is one less seat than the 2010 elections. In the Senate the socialist party was able to pick up five seats with almost 5% of the vote but this was a loss of three seats from the 2010 elections.
The UP was not present in the 2010 elections after years of persecution which left thousands of members dead. On Sunday the party registered less than 1 percent of the vote in the House of Representatives and won no seats. The party did not have candidates in the Senate elections.
The announcement of a collaborative political effort in the presidential elections comes after a Colombia Reports interview with Aida Avella Wednesday in which she attributed election success in Colombia to the extent of candidate financing. She went on to say that great wealth is now a requirement to get elected to public offices adding “the competition is no longer a discussion of ideas. It is a contest of wealth.”
In the May 25 election round, the left is facing a relatively unpopular, but strong opponent; President Juan Manuel Santos, who — with the support of veteran Liberal-leaning politicians — is way ahead in polls with a reported support between 51% and 24.2% of the South American country’s voters.
Nevertheless, with the likeliness there will be a second round on June 5, the leftist block will primarily have to pass a whole range of center to conservative candidates to make it to the two-candidate finale.
The main candidate for the second round is Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, a former finance minister who is running for for former President Alvaro Uribe‘s new political party, Centro Democratico. The conservative businessman-turned-politician is good for 14.6% down to 8% of the reported voters’ support.
A second candidate, the centrist candidate Enrique Peñalosa (Green Alliance), is aiming at moderate voters. A former journalist and Bogota mayor, Peñalosa received recognition abroad for his urban development policies.
The biggest risk factor in the polls is the amount of voters that claim to be voting blank in the elections. Between 10% and 41.5% told the pollsters they would vote blank. The latest polls, that of before the congressional election on Sunday, proved to be several percentage points over the eventual result, proving that particular threat inflated in the polls.
- Clara y Aída, la fórmula de la izquierda (Semana)
- Elecciones de Congreso y Parlamento Andino (Colombian National Register)
- Clara López y Aída Avella irán juntas en las elecciones Presidenciales (El Espectador)