Simon Gaviria (L) and Juan Manuel Santos (R)

Colombia’s Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Colombiano) is the first political entity to promote Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’s reelection campaign, outside of the president’s own U Party (Partido de la U),  local media reported on Monday.

With official endorsement ceremony set to take place on Monday night in the party headquarters, the Liberal Party formally announced its decision to endorse Santos on Monday through a press release, Caracol Radio reported.

The announcement comes after Liberal Party leader Simon Gaviria Muñoz voiced his support for Santos’ re-election bid during numerous campaign rallies in the state of Antioquia over the weekend, as reported by Caracol Radio.

“Juan Manuel Santos picked the liberal ideals of peace that we have searched for more than 40 years, and it is he who will make the liberal agenda a reality,” he was quoted as saying at one of the rallies.

During more than 20 rallies in a number of Antioquia’s municipalities, including the capital Medellin, Gaviria promoted Liberal Party parliamentary candidates as well as the principles put forward by the incumbent president, who last week revealed his “United for Peace” slogan. 

Gaviria stressed the importance of continuing the peace process initiated by President Santos in 2012 that has seen over a year of continuous negotiations with Colombia’s FARC rebel group, the country’s oldest, in Cuba.

MORE: Santos launches re-election slogan

Speaking in a region that is traditionally seen as a stronghold of former President Albaro Uribe, who has been a staunch critic of Santos and the peace process in general, Gaviria added, “in the last 10 years we’ve spent $103.5 billion on the conflict …I want us to change the tax of war into a dividend for peace.”

Santos is currently running on the U Party ticket. Formed by Santos in 2005, the U Party is comprised of many former Liberal Party members, and currently enjoys a dominant share in the Colombian Congress.

MORE: Juan Manuel Santos announced as U Party presidential candidate

In every national poll taken thus far, Santos is the clear frontrunner heading into May’s presidential race.


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