Santos wins Colombian election, but heads to runoff

09:58, May 31, 2010      

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Colombia's Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos speaks during a news confrence in Bogota December 9, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters File photo)

Former Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos won the first round of presidential elections on Sunday, but still fell short of the votes needed for an outright victory.

Santos, from the ruling Social Party of National Unity, obtained 46.57 percent of the votes, while his arch rival Antanas Mockus, from the Green Party, got 21.47 percent, the National Registration of Civil State said.

Since no candidate gets the 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a second round election, the two front-runners will enter the runoff scheduled for June 20.

Santos won in 31 out of the 32 provinces in Colombia and Mockus just got one.

Santos, 58, has promised to continue the security, economy and society policies of incumbent Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who firmly backs him in running for the presidency.

The former defense minister said if elected he will keep the fight against the guerilla drug trafficking as a priority of Uribe's Democratic Security Policy.

"Colombia must continue the path of the progress, moving ahead on social policies, economic development, and fighting against all the armed groups," Santos said.

He also plans to integrate Colombia into the world through trade agreements and diversify its exports to Latin America, Europe and Asia.



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