Zuluaga Will Run for Colombian President After Ruling Party’s Nod
(Bloomberg) -- A U.K.-educated former Finance Minister who opposed Colombia’s peace deal with Marxist guerrillas will run for president after winning the ruling party’s nomination.
Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, 62, defeated four other candidates, according to a tweet by Nubia Stella Martinez, the National Director of President Ivan Duque’s Centro Democratico Party. That means he’ll probably be on ballot papers in the May 2022 election.
Zuluaga, who served as finance minister from 2007-2010, guided the economy through the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis without any economic contraction.
He studied public finances at the University of Exeter in England and has expressed support for free-trade agreements, the “fiscal rule” that curbs the government’s ability to run deficits and central bank independence.
Zuluaga won the first round of the 2014 presidential election, but was defeated by Juan Manuel Santos in the runoff. That election was largely fought on the issue of Santos’ attempts to reach a peace deal with Marxist rebels, which Zuluaga criticized as excessively lenient to people guilty of serious crimes. The rebels eventually signed a deal with the Santos government in 2016 and agreed to lay down their arms, though many have since returned to fighting.
Zuluaga’s 2014 campaign was plagued by scandal after a video emerged of a hacker called Andres Sepulveda telling him of his access to classified information. Sepulveda was later arrested and jailed, though Zuluaga was never found guilty of any wrongdoing.
Centro Democratico’s logo is a silhouette of former President Alvaro Uribe with his hand on his heart. Uribe, or candidates backed by him, have won four of the last five elections in the Andean nation.
If no one wins next year’s vote outright in the first round in May, there’ll be a runoff in June. Early polls show that left-wing senator Gustavo Petro, who wants to tax the rich and end oil exploration, commands a wide lead over rivals.
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