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Saturday, May 1, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

The Economist has an interesting piece (in English) about Colombian presidential candidate (and leader in some polls), Antanas Mockus:  The maths of a Green revolution.

Some interesting observations:

Were he to win, he would find governing hard. In a legislative election in March his party won just five seats in the 102-seat Senate and only four in the lower house. Even so, he says he would not deal: “I will just have to present the same bill many times to get it approved.”

Governing would be a challenge given the current composition of the recently elected Congress.

He has a chance in the election due to the following:

Another reason for Mr Mockus’s surge is that he and his allies are firmly of the centre. They say they are neither with nor against Mr Uribe. He vows to continue the government’s security policies, but not what he calls its “anything goes” attitude that he blames for abuses of human-rights. He also says he would never talk to the FARC unless they accept the constitution.

No candidate can win this elections without the public being convinced that the basic security policies will remain in place.  Mockus is promising not just Uribe’s “democratic security” but, rather “democratic legality” as well—a delineation that will appeal to many Colombians.  There is little doubt that along with Uribe’s successes have come some serious questions and scandals, such as the ongoing investigation of wiretapping and other questionable activities by the DAS1 as well as the false positives scandal2 (amongst other things3 ).  It is worth noting that Mockus’ main competition, Juan Manuel Santos, was Defense Minister during the height of the false positives scandal.

A major electoral obstacle is as follows:

A bigger handicap is that his greatest political strength—independence—is also an electoral weakness. He lacks ties to local political machines that dole out building materials, food or cash in return for votes. They are often decisive in Colombian elections.

He also has some financing challenges.

And, as a parting aside, I had forgotten about the following:

As the rector of the National University in Bogotá, Mr Mockus once dropped his trousers and mooned an auditorium of unruly students to get their attention.

A potentially useful skill for a president, I suppose.

  1. Colombia’s internal security and intelligence agency. []
  2. The murder of civilians by the military who then identified the bodies as members of the FARC to get their numbers of kills up. []
  3. Such as the agriculture subsidies scandal. []
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One Response to “Mockus Profile”

  1. Politics Down South Says:

    [...] Mockus Profile [...]


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