Óscar Iván Zuluaga’s name was on the ballot, but it was his political mentor and the former president, Álvaro Uribe (pictured right), who pulled in the votes. A finance minister under Mr Uribe, Mr Zuluaga (pictured left) scored 29% in the first round of Colombia’s presidential election on May 25th, beating Juan Manuel Santos, the current president, by four percentage points. The two men will now face each other in a run-off on June 15th. With his direct, folksy manner, Mr Uribe has dominated Colombian politics since he first won the presidency in 2002. After changing the constitution to allow his re-election, he won again in 2006. Barred from a third term, he backed Mr Santos, his former defence minister, in 2010, expecting his successor to continue his tough security policies, particularly against the FARC guerrillas.
In office, though, Mr Santos veered from Mr Uribe’s programme. He mended frazzled relations with Venezuela and Ecuador, undid some of Mr Uribe’s measures (such as tax breaks for mining and oil companies), and began peace talks with a weakened FARC. A furious Mr Uribe is now Mr Santos’s fiercest critic.
In a congressional election in March, Mr Uribe and 18 allies won Senate seats under the banner of a new party that at first bore his name, Uribe Centro Democrático (now known simply as Centro Democrático). Mr Zuluaga is running on the same party’s ticket. The former president is still wildly popular for taming the guerrillas, despite questions about his government’s human-rights record and scandals over phone-tapping. Mr Zuluaga has himself become entangled in an e-mail hacking controversy (he denies wrongdoing).
Full Article: Colombia’s election: Uribe’s wrath | The Economist.