Colombians pick a new president on Sunday in a tight runoff election fought over whether peace talks with leftist guerrillas or a renewed military offensive stand the best chance of ending 50 years of war in the Andean country.
President Juan Manuel Santos, who has cast the election as a choice between peace and war, faces right-wing challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, a sceptic of talks, in the second round of this year\’s elections.
In Sunday\’s election, the candidates are locked in an unpredictable race, that polls show is too close to call and may have the narrowest margin for 20 years.
Zuluaga won 29.3 percent of the first round vote, while Santos got 25.7 percent. Three other candidates were eliminated following the first round.
Santos, 62, began talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to end a conflict that has killed over 200,000 people and displaced millions of others.
He has made the pursuit of peace the centerpiece of his campaign.
He announced this week that preliminary talks had begun with the nation\’s second biggest insurgent group, the National Liberation Army.
Source – Agencies