Colombian President-Elect Receives Certification, Prepares for Inauguration

By Dialogo
August 03, 2010

Colombian president-elect Juan Manuel Santos received certification Monday as the country’s next president, an office he will take up on Saturday with the challenge of repairing relations with Venezuela and moving forward on decisive social reforms to reduce unemployment and poverty.
The fifty-eight-year-old political leader will replace President Alvaro Uribe, who is leaving office after eight years characterized by the fight against leftist guerrillas and drug trafficking, a fight that Santos promised to continue.
The politician said that with the delivery of the certification by the election authorities, he now considers himself formally president of Colombia.
“A simple ceremony, but one that commits me enormously to respect for our institutions (…) and to the Colombian people; we received more than nine million votes, a very clear mandate that obligates us to fulfill it,” the president-elect said at the ceremony at which he received the document.
Santos will take office on Saturday in historic Bolívar Square, in the center of Bogotá, amid a heavy security deployment including air patrols and snipers, according to the armed forces.

The political leader, a former minister of defense, treasury, and foreign trade, has the support of investors and businesspeople who have confidence that he will provide continuity to the government’s free-market and security policies.
Santos, elected with the highest number of votes in the country’s history, has solid congressional support and a reduced opposition, a decisive factor for obtaining the approval of significant reforms, including one that seeks to guarantee and improve Colombians’ health-care coverage.
One of the sensitive issues that he will have to confront in his first days in office will be trying to reestablish diplomatic and trade relations with Venezuela.