Next Thursday, August 17th, will mark one year until Colombia has a new president. Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s current president, enters the last year of his tenure with a historically abysmal disapproval rating of 73%, after breaking campaign promises on tax increases, increasing the country’s national debt, reducing pensions for the elderly, ceding part of Colombia’s territory to Nicaragua, and most importantly, rejecting the results of his own referendum on the Havana Peace Accords and implementing them without the support of the people.
Santos’ disapproval is the worst disapproval rating ever registered for a Colombian president, and political forces on the right have taken advantage of his weakness to bolster their candidates in the 2018 election. Even former allies, such as former Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón, have abandoned Santos and formulated policy positions against the status quo.
According to the most recent polling for Colombia’s presidential election released by “Cifras y Conceptos“, Colombians are split among the current crop of candidates. Former M19 terrorist, ex-convict and Bogotá mayor Gustavo Petro and Radical Change party member Germán Vargas lead the poll with 13% each, followed by Claudia López (10%), Sergio Fajardo (8%), and Clara López (7%). Other polls have showed Claudia López or Ivan Duque in front. More than 20 candidates have declared for Colombia’s presidency.