BOGOTA – A newly released poll shows former Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus winning the Colombian presidency if the contest comes down to a runoff.
Mockus, the candidate of the centrist Green Party, would garner 50 percent of the vote in a potential June 20 runoff, while former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos – who had been the favorite in voter-preference surveys – would garner 44 percent, the poll, which was commissioned by the CM& news program and released on Thursday, revealed.
The poll showed Santos, standard-bearer of the conservative Party of the U and close ally of outgoing President Alvaro Uribe, receiving 35 percent of the vote in the first round, compared with 34 percent for Mockus and 12 percent for Conservative Party candidate Noemi Sanin.
Trailing far behind are center-left Liberal Party candidate Rafael Pardo and leftist Alternative Democratic Pole hopeful Gustavo Petro, each projected to receive just 5 percent of the vote in the first round.
German Vargas Lleras, candidate of the center-right Radical Change Party, would garner just 4 percent, the poll revealed.
A total of 1,000 people in 38 cities nationwide were interviewed between April 19-21 for the survey, which was conducted by the Centro Nacional de Consultoria polling firm for CM&.
Another poll released Thursday that was conducted by the University of Medellin for Caracol Radio showed Santos as the frontrunner with 34.4 percent of the vote in the first round, compared to Mockus with 27.1 percent and Sanin with 16.5 percent.
A total of 1,243 people over the age of 18 were interviewed nationwide between April 14-19 for that survey, 87.1 percent of whom said they plan to vote in the May 30 presidential election.
Mockus said earlier this month that he is suffering the onset of Parkinson’s disease, but gave assurances that it will not affect his ability to govern.
Mockus said on April 9 that his neurologist assured him that he will have “good health” for the next 12 years and that he will be able to manage “perfectly well in everything to do with the intellect.”
Parkinson’s disease affects people’s movements as the brain loses its ability to produce a substance called dopamine. Some studies have linked it to depression.
Mockus suffered deep depression at the end of his second term as Bogota mayor, prompting him to resign.
Mockus has surged in the polls since Sergio Fajardo – the ex-mayor of Medellin, Colombia’s second city – agreed to join the Green ticket as a candidate for vice president.
Colombia’s next president will be sworn in on Aug. 7 for a four-year term.
Uribe, who enjoys high approval ratings for his U.S.-backed administration’s success in weakening leftist guerrillas, was first elected in 2002 and re-elected four years later after the constitution was amended to allow him to run again.
His supporters tried to arrange a referendum that would have asked voters whether presidents should be able to serve three consecutive terms, but the Constitutional Court ruled that the law approving the referendum violated the nation’s charter. EFE