Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe lost a great deal of political influence in Sunday’s local elections, where candidates endorsed by him lost in almost all major cities and in the majority of departments.
Uribe, who had been giving “democratic workshops” throughout the country since January and intensified his explicit endorsement of candidates in the months leading up to the elections saw his gubernatorial candidates lose in 10 departments and win in six.
Of the seven major cities Colombia Reports checked, the only Uribe-endorsed candidate who made it to mayor-elect was Cali’s Rodrigo Guerrero, who had been receiving the support of almost all political parties, except the socialist Polo Democratico.
Uribe’s most prominent defeats were in Bogota where his candidate Enrique Peñalosa lost to Uribe’s long-time political enemy Gustavo Petro and in his home department of Antioquia, where his allies lost both the Governor’s Office and the Mayor’s Office of the capital, Medellin.
According to Noticias Uno, a newscast that has been highly critical of Uribe for years, 90% of the candidates supported by Uribe lost in Sunday’s elections.
According to several analysts, Uribe’s loss of political leverage means a further strengthening of the political power of President Juan Manuel Santos, who in the national Congress already had the support of a staggering 90% of lawmakers and on several occasions had clashed with his predecessor over the return of stolen land and the compensation of victims of the armed conflict.
Nevertheless, according to political analysis website La Silla Vacia, Uribe did win in municipalities that are of economic importance to his family; the former president won almost 90% of the municipalities in the neo-paramilitary violence-ridden Cordoba where he owns a holiday home, “El Uberrimo.” Uribe also won the municipalities forming the “half moon” northwest of Bogota where his sons have invested in projects of what could be the biggest free trade zone near the capital. The former president also won in Puerto Gaitan, Meta where Canadian oil company Pacific Rubiales runs Colombia’s largest oil field, although these elections are contested because according to electoral observers falsified ballots were found.
Uribe, who usually sends out more than a dozen political statements per day via Twitter, did not react to the election results. His Twitter remained untouched since 2AM Sunday.