President Santos Is Colombia's Comeback Kid, Wins Re-Election

Jun 16, 2014

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the University of Miami last December.
Credit C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is back from the brink. Polls had indicated he could lose his re-election bid in Sunday’s presidential run-off vote. But he won another four years in office – and that also breathes new life into Colombia's peace process.

Santos defeated his right-wing challenger, Oscar Iván Zuluaga by a 53-to-47-percent margin  – a convincing turnaround from last month's first-round election. Zuluaga actually defeated Santos in that earlier vote, thanks largely to voter skepticism about the peace negotiations Santos began last year with Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas, the FARC. Zuluaga had threatened to end the talks. But in Sunday's runoff, Colombians apparently had a change of heart.

Colombia is now South America’s second-largest economy behind Brazil and is seeking to end the 50-year-armed conflict with the FARC.