Colombia’s runoff

Juan Manuel Santos was elected president of Colombia in Sunday’s runoff. No surprise there. Given how close he was to 50% in the first round, the runoff was effectively superfluous.

The turnout was down compared to the first round, as we might have expected, given the foregone conclusion. In fact, the surprise is that it was down so little: from about 14.75 million on the first round to about 13.3 million in the runoff. (See the first-round and second-round data that Steven Taylor posted.)

The second-place candidate, Antanas Mockus, barely increased his votes, from 3.116 million to 3.588 million (21.5% to 27.5%).

While this is ultimately a disappointment for Mockus and his supporters, given polls before the first round that suggested he could win, if you had told me years ago that one day the flamboyant mayor of Bogota would win over a quarter of the votes in a presidential election, I would have thought it impossible.

4 thoughts on “Colombia’s runoff

  1. I’d be hard pressed to think of one who got even 5%, but if there has been one, someone who reads F&V is sure to know!

    (Is the Colombian Verde a member of the Green international organization?)

  2. A point – the second round was not superflous:in the portuguese elections of 1986, in the 1st round the difference between the first and the second was more or less these (first candidate – 46%; second – 25%) and in the 2nd round the second candidate (Mario Soares) win.

  3. I always use the Portugal 1986 case as an example in my classes of how majority-runoff systems work, so thanks, Miguel, for mentioning it here.

    Of course, in that case Soares, while far behind, was one of two major candidates on the left. Mockus, on other hand, dominated the center-left in Colombia’s contest, and the candidate of the more traditional left (who fell far behind) actually called for a boycott rather than a vote for Mockus.

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