Election poster of Oscar Ivan Zuluaga

Despite losing to incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos in Colombia’s second round of presidential elections, Democratic Center candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga won with Colombians living abroad, capturing 57.8% of the vote.

Consistent with the results in the first round of presidential elections, Zuluaga won among Colombians in the exterior by a margin of 18.2 points, receiving 57.8% of the vote compared to his challenger and eventual winner who received 39.6%, according to Colombia’s Registrar Office.

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Countries with a large Colombian expat population such as Venezuela, the United States, Spain, and Ecuador were divided with regards to voting patterns. The US, Spain, and Ecuador opted for Zuluaga, whereas Venezuela chose Juan Manuel Santos.

Latin America in general was split between those that supported Santos and Zuluaga: Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay all voted for Santos.

On the other hand, Colombians in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay chose Zuluaga.

Regions of the world with fewer Colombians, especially northern and western Europe (with the exception of Spain) voted overwhelmingly for Santos. Santos also captured the vote in East Asia and India although Zuluaga won in Japan.

Colombian business magazine, Portafolio, highlighted the high abstention among Colombian expats, which reached 80.11%, slightly better than the first round, which witnessed an 81.97% abstention rate.

These results mirrored the first round of presidential elections, where more left-leaning western and northern European countries opted for left-leaning or center candidates, choosing Clara Lopez and Enrique Peñalosa while those votes in the second round went to Santos.

The first round also saw regions of the world with many Colombians following their home country, voting between Santos and Zuluaga. The only major difference between the first and second round with regards to Zuluaga votes, was Mexico which narrowly chose Santos in the second round, while choosing Santos in the first round.

Colombia’s first round of presidential elections took place on May 25, where less than 20% of the more than 500,000 Colombians living abroad filled-out absentee ballots.

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