Mockus Races Ahead in Colombian Presidential Campaign
Mockus who heads the Green Party, has run a shoestring campaign, relying on Facebook and Twitter to help gain support. Now Mockus garners around 38 percent of the vote, according to a poll published last week. Bogota, Colombia. 08/05/2010
Mockus heads the Green Party, has run a shoestring campaign, relying on students adept at getting the word out through Facebook and Twitter. Now Mockus garners around 38 percent of the vote, according to a poll published last week
What once looked like a predictable outcome in Colombia’s forthcoming presidential elections has recently turned into a tight race that pundits say is too close to call. That’s largely due to the surge of Antanas Mockus, a former university rector, philosopher and two-time mayor of Bogotá, who just a few weeks ago was trailing in the polls with little more than 9 percent of the intended vote.
A Green Party candidate and the son of Lithuanian immigrants, Mockus is best known for his eccentricities and a penchant for symbolic gestures. Mockus´is administration would contrast sharply with what critics call the downside of Uribe's government: confrontation and scandal, including revelations that the secret police spied on opponents and helped hit men kill leftist activists.
Last month, Mockus chose a former mayor, Sergio Fajardo. Both mathematicians, present an intriguing presidential formula that has particularly appealed to young voters who are using Facebook and Twitter to muster support.
"But most significantly, the bearded and spectacled Mockus has a squeaky clean image and is seen as uncorruptable. This attribute stands for a lot these days in Colombia, where few trust their elected politicians and where people are fed up with nepotism, election fraud and the seemingly never-ending corruption scandals.
There is a growing sense here, particularly among first time and young disillusioned voters living in the cities, that it is time to elect a leader who they believe is honest and will play it clean.
His key election mantra—“with education everything is possible”—is based on his belief that education is the fundamental basis of Colombia’s social and economic progress.
Mockus also believes in generating consensus and that policy initiatives and changes need to be the result of a more inclusive debate from all sectors of society and different stakeholders" said, Anastasia Moloney.
Mockus is famous for once pulling down his pants down and mooning a rowdy audience of university students. He is also remembered for running around Bogotá in a red and yellow Superman-type suit to pose as “Super Citizen” when he was mayor of the city.