With over 97% of the vote counted, either Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, candidate of former President Alvaro Uribe’s Democratic Center (Centro Democratico – CD) party, or incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos will be the next president of Colombia.
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By the day’s end, Zuluaga will walk away with about 29% of the vote while Santos who is seeking re-election will have gained near 25% of the vote.
MORE: Colombia Presidential Election Results
Less than an hour and a half after polls closed across Colombia, the former finance minister and the current president have proven that citizens have not been deterred by recent scandals engulfing both candidates’ campaigns.
Just weeks before the election, Zuluaga’s campaign manager resigned over allegations of wiretapping, and just eight days ago, a video appeared of the candidate being informed on allegedly illegally obtained classified information related to ongoing peace talks between the government and the FARC rebel group.
MORE: Zuluaga directly involved with illegal wiretapping, caught on video
A court allowed an urgent petition to be filed by a civilian that sought the cancellation of Zuluaga’s candidacy in the election.
Meanwhile, one of President Santos’ chief political strategists was forced to resign when a Colombian drug lord’s testimony before United States prosecutors was leaked to Colombian media.
According to media, drug lord “Comba” told the prosecutors that he and other top drug lords had paid spin doctor Juan Jose Rendon $12 million to promote a proposal to negotiate their surrender and jointly dismantle existing drug trafficking routes to prevent emerging groups from taking over.
MORE: Political uproar over 2011 Govt. negotiations with drug traffickers
But it was apparent very quickly that despite these scandals, Colombians still widely supported Zuluaga and Santos.
Colombia’s National Registry tweeted Sunday afternoon that they had done their preliminary count in “record time” reporting 95% of polling stations in one hour.
En tiempo récord Registraduría Nacional entregó resultados de preconteo en elección presidencial con 95% de mesas informadas en una hora.
— Registraduría (@Registraduria) May 25, 2014
As for the other three candidates, the Conservative Party’s Marta Lucia Ramirez effectively tied for third place with the Democratic Pole (Polo Democratico – PD) party’s Clara Lopez. Both received 15% of the vote, though Ramirez received about 40,000 more than the socialist-leaning candidate.
Enrique Peñalosa was the definitive loser of Sundays elections, commanding a dismal 8.3% of the vote. The Green Alliance (Alianza Verde – AV) candidate who was just a month ago tied in polls with victor Zuluaga — and once favored to defeat Santos in a second round –failed to mobilize Colombians on all fronts.
Zuluaga’s electoral victory clearly demonstrates that the legacy of former President and Senator-elect Uribe is still very much alive in Colombia, and will possibly carry him to the country’s presidential palace.