Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Monday that the running mate for his 2014 reelection campaign is German Vargas, a veteran politician from one of Colombia’s most powerful political dynasties.
The longtime political figure and senator has already served under the president as the Minister of Housing, and the Interior and Justice.
As Santos put it, Vargas presents an “active voice that is at the head of major projects and all the major challenges which are facing the country.” The president said the two have a “sincere friendship based on loyalty which is so rare in politics.”
“German Vargas is a great leader, a person recognized by the whole country. I am very happy, very pleased that he has accepted this role,” said Santos.
Vargas’ name first officially surfaced on February 10 at at an event for the Good Government Foundation (Fundacion de Buen Gobierno), which runs Santos’ reelection campaign. The president himself suggested the former senator but waited until Monday to confirm the position.
“I can contribute so much if I am given a concrete task to fulfill,” Vargas was quoted as saying, following the announcement.
The 52-year-old lawyer has maintained one of the highest approval ratings of any political figure in the country, enough so that it was previously speculated he would run against Santos as the candidate for the Radical Change party (Cambio Radical), as he did in 2010.
Analysts have pointed out that the enmity between Vargas and former President and Senate candidate Alvaro Uribe, a staunch Santos critic and leader of the Democratic Center party (Centro Democratico), which is fielding the incumbent’s chief opponent thus far, has driven he and Santos closer together since the president’s 2010 election.
Both Santos and Vargas are related to former Colombian presidents.
- Santos confirma a Germán Vargas Lleras como fórmula vicepresidencial (El Universal)
- Santos confirma a Vargas Lleras como su fórmula vicepresidencial (El Espectador)
- Presidente de Fundación Buen Gobierno, Germán Vargas Lleras, instala Comité Político para reelección de Santos (Buen Gobierno)
- Colombian president names Vargas Lleras as running mate (Reuters)