Former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos Wins First Round in Colombia’s Presidential Vote

Former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos has easily won the first-round in Colombia’s presidential poll.

Although he fell short of the crucial 50 per cent tally which would have given him an outright win, his surprise showing of 47 percent of votes puts him in a strong position for a run-off in June, euronews informs.

Antanas Mockus, the son of Lithuanian immigrants who stressed clean government and promised a tax increase, got 21 percent. A former two-time mayor of the Colombian capital, he catapulted into contention in pre-election polls only to falter at the ballot box.

Santos , 58, is a U.S.-trained economist and the great-nephew of a president whose family long ran the country's leading newspaper. His first cousin, Francisco Santos, was Uribe's vice president. A nephew, Alejandro Santos, is editor of Semana, the country's leading newsmagazine. After serving three administrations as a Cabinet minister, he is in his first race for elected office, The Associated Press says.

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