What does Mockus have going for him? And where are his votes coming from? In an excellent piece of analysis this morning, Semana takes a look. The most interesting bits:
- Uribism is not a philosophy or a party – it’s a personality, says an analyst. Santos and others can try to take on Uribe’s mantel, but they will never be Uribe, and that means they are vulnerable.
- The latest polls that put Mockus in second place in Colombia’s race for the presidency also show a huge increase in the likely voter turnout. The percentage of eligible voters who say they intended to vote went from 54.8% to 83.9% in 15 days. Clearly either Mockus’ candidacy is electrifying the vote, or someone forgot to carry the one.
- Only one of the minor candidates has announced who he would support in a run-off. This means most are waiting to see what happens, and Santos is not seen as the de facto winner
Some people are calling Mockus Colombia’s Obama. The analogy so far appears to hold some water, as Mockus’ “green wave” of support is inspiring voters, building support using the internet, and rallying urbanites.
More than anything this process is demonstrating the importance of term limits in a democracy. Were Uribe running today, his cult of personality would almost certainly win in a first round, and the possibilities for Colombia’s future would be limited. With Uribe out of the picture, however, new people with new ideas have a shot, and even if someone like Mockus doesn’t win, his ideas have to be dealt with by the other candidates.
UPDATE: One thing Mockus does not have going for him is Parkinson’s disease.