“Juan Manuel Santos was the minister of commerce, treasury and defense, and no one can look him in the eyes and accuse him of any wrong-doing,” Garzon said in defense of the high-profile “Uribista.”
“Santos’ only mischief was Operation Checkmate against the FARC which secured the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt and other kidnap victims,” Garzon said, in response to Fajardo’s criticism of the former defense minister’s “dirty” campaign tactics.
Garzon also asserted that Santos’ victory in the first round presidential election on May 30 was not the result of the “machine” of Partido de la U, but rather of the choice of individuals.
Fajardo said he considered the issue of election “machinery” in Colombia to be associated with clientelism, a form of politics that the Greens unequivocally reject. “We don’t have machinery. We have dignity. We have principles to share,” the former Medellin mayor said.
Garzon did not respond directly to the question of whether outgoing President Alvaro Uribe supports the Partido de la U’s platform, but said that he appeared to be more in favor of a Santos-Garzon government than of a Green one lead by Antanas Mockus and Fajardo.
Fajardo said that it is not in the Greens’ budget to lose the election and he said he was confident that the number of people who will vote for Mockus in the second round election will multiply.
Mockus won 21.47% of the vote in the May 30 first round presidential elections, while Santos won 46.57%.
Given that no presidential candidate gained the majority vote needed to win Colombia’s first round presidential elections, the most voted-for candidates, Santos and Mockus, will face-off in a second round election on June 20.
Mockus rejected a second round election alliance proposed by left-wing party Polo Democratico, because the two parties disagreed over the direction Colombia’s foreign policy should take.
Polo Democratico leader Gustavo Petro rejected an offer by Santos to join the Uribista’s “government of national unity,” which means his party will advise followers to either abstain from voting, or turn in a blank vote. Petro, a former presidential candidate, won 9.16% of the first round vote.
Right-wing political party Cambio Radical announced Tuesday that it will support Santos in the upcoming presidential elections, but did not commit to a formal alliance if he is elected.