lunes, 28 de octubre de 2013

Right-wing party picks candidate against Colombian President

The party formed around the conservative convictions and political aspirations of Colombia's former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Uribe Centro Democrático, chose on 26 October the former finance minister Óscar Iván Zuluaga Escobar as its presidential candidate for 2014. Mr Zuluaga will compete with President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón should he run again for office. Speakers at the Democratic Centre's convention were critical of various aspects of the Government but Mr Uribe and his allies have in recent months been vociferous when denouncing its peace talks with the communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which began in October 2012 and have yet to yield clear results. Mr Santos called the enemies of the talks "vultures" on 26 October. While Mr Zuluaga lacks Mr Uribe's fame, Mr Uribe has already been president twice and cannot aspire to a third term. He will head his party's list of senatorial candidates in 2014 and many suspect he would dominate a hypothetical president from his party. Speaking to the party's convention on 26 October, Mr Zuluaga set out five policy directions including he said the renewal of the "democratic security" policies that curbed crime in Colombia when Mr Uribe was president in 2002-10, El Espectador reported. "Real peace is built with more security and more justice" he said, not following "impunity and political privileges for violent people. We shall relentlessly fight small-time trafficking, extortion, city crimes and terrorism." Mr Uribe deplored the President's vulture comments, particularly it was observed because a FARC commander had at one point qualified opponents of talks as "scavengers." "President Santos calls us vultures with his allies the FARC" he wrote on the website Twitter, El Colombiano reported on 28 October. Mr Santos said on 26 October while visiting Viotá south-west of Bogotá that "we have enemies...who some say look very much like vultures because they live off death...they live spreading everything that is negative...injecting pessimism...they want to continue war." The daily observed that the President's sharp remarks were a "furious" response to provocative speeches made at the Democratic Centre convention.

Argentine President's coalition keeps narrow lead in legislative polls

Argentines voted on 27 October to renew half the seats in the lower legislative chamber and a third of the Senate, with results interpreted as a defeat for the Victory Front (Frente para la Victoria) backing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner even as it kept its two majorities. Mrs Kirchner's socialist policies have increasingly irked the middle class, although the opposition consisted of a range of parties including dissident groups inside the Justicialist Party. Justicialism is a historical movement encompassing a range of tendencies and includes the current presidential coalition. With almost 97 per cent of votes counted, the Front had won just over 33 per cent of votes cast, which gave it 132 of 257 seats in the Chamber of Deputies or lower house, Europa Press reported on 28 October. The leftist Radical Civic Union or UCR (Unión Cívica Radical) and allies including the Socialists now had 54 parliamentarians, the Frente Renovador Massa, a centre-right current of Justicialism formed in 2013 by the mayor of Tigre Sergio Massa, 19 seats, and Propuesta Republicana or PRO led by the Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri just over nine per cent of votes and 18 seats. In the Senate, a count of just under 78 per cent of votes left the FpV with 39 of 72 seats, down from 41 it held so far, and the UCR-Socialist block 19 seats, Clarín reported on 28 October. Mr Macri's PRO group was expected to win three senatorial seats, having none so far, Clarín reported. Senators were elected for six years and parliamentarians for four years, with both chambers holding respective elections to renew a third and half their members every two years. Vice-President Amado Boudou was cited as saying that the results gave 40 million Argentines "certainties" that the government would continue to care for jobs and national production, Europa Press and Télam reported on 28 October. Some opponents were cited as qualifying his interpretation of results as unrealistic.