Another Colombia related cross-post from PoliBlog:
El Tiempo reports that ex-Mayor of Medellín and presidential candidate, Sergio Fajardo is in talks to quit the field and join forces with ex-Mayor of Bogotá, Antanas Mockus of the Green Party (a party already populated with ex-Mayors).
Mockus is currently a distant third in polling behind two candidates from the governing coalition, Juan Manuel Santos of La U and Noemí Sanín of the Conservative Party. Three recent polls have provided almost the same results with the most recent one putting Santos at 36%, Sanín at 17%, and Mockus at 9%. It should be noted that to win the Colombian presidency that a candidate must win 50%+1 (i.e., an absolute majority) in the first round. A second round is all but certain this year. As such, the opposition must find a candidate that can win second place in the first round. While it appears unlikely at the moment, Mockus is the candidate with the best chance to be that candidate.
Fajardo is polling in the 5% range, so even if all of those voters were to go with him to the Mockus camp, Mockus would still be in third.
Also intriguing is that the article states that the PDA candidate, Gustavo Petro (polling at ~6%) may also be willing to enter into an alliance. If such a coalition could be built and kept together, then it is conceivable that Mockus could come in second. And, of course, the question of what the PL candidate might do (Rafael Pardo, who is polling in the 5% range). It would be tough, I think, for the candidate of one of Colombia’s grand old parties, to play second (let alone third or fourth) fiddle to an upstart party. Really, all of this will be a test of the Tocosán hypothesis (Todos contra Santos—all against Santos, or anybody but Santos) thesis.
Since we are ranging into the area of speculative thinking, my guess would be that while it would be better for competition and Colombian democracy in general for the second round to be contested between Santos and a true opposition candidate (as opposed to a contest between shades of the same color, i.e., La U v. the PC), I have a very hard time seeing Santos losing such a race.