Monday, June 21, 2010

Voting Rules (Part III)

Round two of the Colombian presidential elections occured on Sunday, along with another ley seca (dry weekend) and heightened security. This time around the voter turn-out was lower; this is being blamed on voter fatigue, rain in Cali, and the FIFA World Cup 2010 games being on throughout the day. (Father's Day, however, can not be blamed as a reason since, although the rest of the world observed it yesterday, Colombia moved it one week so as to not be affected by the elections-imposed drinking prohibition.)

Juan Manuel Santos emerged victorious with around 69% of the vote over Antanas Mockus. Santos will likely continue the leadership style and philosophy of outgoing president, Alvaro Uribe, who, for the last eight years, has improved security in the major cities and much of the countryside through swift military actions. Uribe has also made many deals both in trade and in the drug war with the United States, making Colombia a friend to the US in a very socialist-dominated continent where Uncle Sam has few allies.

Mockus advocated for change, and while many of his ideas were based on the use of education to better the nation, Colombians as whole decided they were not ready to take on such a drastic shift in idealogy just yet. Partido Verde (Green Party) will no doubt be back in four years and maybe then the country will be more open to that kind of change. In the mean time, I think it is evident that change has occured in that the two political parties that used to dominate the elections did not even make it out of the first rounds this time.

I am leaving for the summer tomorrow and will return on August 8th, the day after Santos takes has taken office. While it would be nice to be here for the inauguration, I look forward to being here from the begin of what will surely be a historic and interesting presidency.

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