Colombia's Santos to Stand for Re-Election in 2014
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he will seek a second term in next May's election, a widely expected decision that could offer him another four years to pursue a peace process he initiated with Marxist FARC rebels.
"I am running because I am convinced we have advanced sufficiently and finally it is possible to reach that future of prosperity and peace that all Colombians deserve," Santos, 62, said in a televised address to the nation.
"I am doing it because when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel you don't turn back."
Santos, a Harvard-educated journalist and son of one of the nation's most influential families, will take on opposition candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga in a campaign likely to focus on how peace with the rebels would transform Colombian society after five decades of war.
Polls make Santos a clear favorite to win, though probably in a second round of voting, Reuters reported.
Neither candidate would be likely to upset investors as both are former finance ministers and seen as market friendly. Economic growth has slowed in the last year on the back of weak overseas demand for local industrial goods. But output is expected to pick up in the coming months and provide a boost to Santos.
Still, Zuluaga, a one-time senator and provincial mayor, charges that FARC negotiations have damaged the $360 billion economy. He accuses Santos of offering the rebels too many concessions and pushing talks so as to enter the history books.
Zuluaga is an ally of former President Alvaro Uribe, a fierce critic of Santos since they fell out in 2010.