Colombian presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos, winner of the nation’s first round-election, called on other political parties to join his campaign for the second round election face-off against Green Party opponent Antanas Mockus.
Santos celebrated his first round victory at a Partido de la U rally in Bogota, where he expressed his happiness at receiving so many votes in his first ever bid for public office and invited all the parties to support his presidency and join him in forming a coalition of national unity.
The “Uribista,” who won 46.56% of the vote in the first round election, said he had no enemies at either the national or the international level, but said that Colombians must work together against common enemies.
Meanwhile Mockus, the first round election runner-up, said “Violence, inequality and corruption are not a destiny, they are problems that can be overcome,” speaking at a Green Party rally, also in Bogota.
The former Bogota mayor, who won 21.49% of the national vote, said he and his supporters had achieved their difficult goal of reaching the second round of the presidential elections.
Mockus said he hoped that the opportunity would allow him and his supporters to “move towards a profound cultural change that will liberate the country from violence, drug trafficking and clientelism.”
Cambio Radical candidate German Vargas Lleras provided election day’s biggest surprise, when the former senator unexpectedly took 3rd place with 10.13% of the vote in the first round election, in defiance of voter polls, which had him placed to come in 5th or 6th.
Vargas Lleras was tight-lipped over which candidate he will support in the second round election, commenting “I don’t feel I have the right to speak for the many Colombians who voted for me.”
The Cambio Radical candidate said he will meet with congressmen and supporters to make the second round decision next week. He attributed his unexpected success in the elections to the fact that people “vote for a program.”
Because no candidate received the majority vote needed to win the first round election outright, the two most popular candidates, Santos and Mockus, will now face-off in a second round election scheduled for June 20.