Colombian presidential election, 2002
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Presidential elections were held in Colombia on 26 May 2002. Álvaro Uribe, the candidate of the recently-created Colombia First movement, was elected, receiving 54% of the vote by the first round. Uribe took office on 7 August.
In 1998, Andrés Pastrana, the Colombian Conservative Party's candidate was elected to the presidency on a platform of holding peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas. After over three years of tortuous dialogues - while the conflict continued unabated in the rest of the country - Pastrana announced on February 20, 2002 that he was ending the peace process with the FARC. Over this complicated period, public opinion radicalized in favour of a strong military strategy to end the Colombian armed conflict.
In 2001, the governing coalition - composed of the Conservative Party and dissident Liberals - which had carried Pastrana to the presidency in 1998 began looking for a candidate to carry the coalition into the 2002 elections. Former Vice President and Minister of the Interior Humberto de La Calle, a dissident Liberal, was approached but he declined, arguing that the candidacy should go to a Conservative. The Minister of Economic Development, Augusto Ramírez Ocampo, resigned his portfolio to seek the presidency, but he later failed to obtain Conservative support because of his low support in the polls.
Following Ramírez Ocampo's withdrawal, the party's president, Carlos Holguín Sardi organized an internal consultation among the over 16,000 delegates in the national convention. Some members of the party wished to offer the candidacy to Noemí Sanín (a former Conservative who had run as an independent in the 1998 election, placing third in the first round), but she declined, opting to continue her independent candidacy. As a result, her supporters within the party's ranks decided not to participate in the internal consultation and join her campaign directly. Three candidates registered to participate in the Conservative primary, the favourite and eventual winner by a large margin was Juan Camilo Restrepo. Restrepo, who had lost the 1998 Conservative candidacy to Pastrana, had later served in Pastrana's cabinet as Minister of Finance (1998-200), where his austere measures against the economic crisis made him unpopular and led to his appointment as Colombia's ambassador to France.
The official candidate of the Liberal Party was Horacio Serpa, who had already been the party's candidate in the 1998 election. Despite being a polarizing figure, Serpa entered the election as the favourite.
Álvaro Uribe's independent candidacy
Álvaro Uribe, the former Liberal governor of Antioquia (1995-1997), entered the race as a strong opponent of the peace talks with the FARC, but originally suffered from low name recognition against other better-known candidates. Uribe declined to participate in a Liberal primary, citing the lack of guarantees, and instead launched an independent candidacy (by collecting signatures from voters to win ballot acces) with the backing of the Colombia First (Primero Colombia) movement.
Uribe entered the field taking a hardline position against the peace talks with the FARC, arguing that peace talks should only be held following the cessation of hostilities and terrorist actions.
Luis Eduardo Garzón, the first president of the Central Union of Workers between 1990 and 2001, ran as the candidate of the left-wing Social and Political Front, later joined by other left-wing parties including the ANAPO and united under the name Independent Democratic Pole. His candidacy received a major boost following the left's good results in the March 2002 congressional elections.
With public opinion having turned against the continuation of peace talks with the guerrilla, Uribe saw his support in the polls increase at a consistent pace. He broke through, surpassing Serpa, beginning in February 2002, following President Pastrana's announcement that he was ending the peace process.
The shift in the polls led a number of Conservatives to abandon their party's official candidate and join Uribe. Decrying the lack of support for his candidacy, Juan Camilo Restrepo dropped out and the Conservative Party chose to officially endorse Uribe. Uribe also received the support of a number of other small parties and movements, including Radical Change, senator Germán Vargas Lleras' Colombia Siempre, the National Salvation Movement and Team Colombia.
|Date||Polling Firm/Source||Uribe (L. diss.)||Serpa (L)||Garzón (PDI)||Sanín||Oth.||Lead|
|18-23 May||Napoleón Franco||48.2||27.4||8.2||6.1||10.1||20.8|
|12-14 May||Napoleón Franco||49.3||23||7.8||6||13.9||26.3|
|18-23 Apr||Napoleón Franco||47.6||27.4||7||6.5||11.5||20.2|
|1-2 Apr||Caracol-El Espectador-Cambio||51||29||4||7||9||22|
|20-23 Mar||Serpa internal||49||31||4||7||9||18|
|26 Feb-5 Mar||Uribe internal||54||24||3||8||11||30|
|21-24 Feb||Napoleón Franco||59.5||24||1.2||5.1||2.2||35.5|
|4 Feb||Napoleón Franco||53||24||12||11||29|
|19-25 Jan 2002||Napoleón Franco||39||30.1||0.9||16.9||13.1||8.9|
|19-22 Sep 2001||Napoleón Franco||23.4||41.2||16.2||19.2||17.8|
|Álvaro Uribe||Colombia First||5,862,655||54.0|
|Horacio Serpa||Liberal Party||3,514,779||32.4|
|Luis Eduardo Garzón||Independent Democratic Pole||680,245||6.3|
|Noemí Sanín||Yes Colombia||641,884||5.9|
|Íngrid Betancourt||Oxygen Green Party||53,922||0.5|
|Harold Bedoya Pizarro||Force Colombia||52,710||0.5|
|Francisco Tovar||Civic Defence Movement||16,396||0.2|
|Augusto Guillermo Lora||19th of April Movement||12,724||0.1|
|Álvaro Cristancho||Community Participation||10,117||0.1|
|Guillermo Antonio Cardona||MPCCC||8,464||0.1|
|Rodolfo Rincon||Community Participation||6,588||0.1|
- Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p. 306 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
- Nohlen, p. 358
- Nohlen, p. 360
- Franco, Napoleón; Stamato, Vicente (2008). Colombia Encuestada: Opinión Pública - Periodismo - Política. Bogotá: N. Franco & Cía. S.C.A. p. 255.
- "Falleció el ex canciller Augusto Ramírez Ocampo". El Tiempo. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "Quién es Quién - Juan Camilo Restrepo Salazar". La Silla Vacía. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- Daza, Javier Duque. "Institucionalización organizativa y procesos de selección de candidatos presidenciales en los partidos Liberal y Conservador colombianos 1974-2006". Estudios Políticos 31. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "Quién es Quién - Horacio Serpa Uribe". La Silla Vacía. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- Franco, p. 257
- "Quién es Quién - Álvaro Uribe Vélez". La Silla Vacía. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "Programa de Gobierno / Álvaro Uribe: Proceso de paz". Votebien.com. Terra.com.co. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- Franco, p. 256
- "Una elección histórica". Colombia.com. 27 May 2002. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
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