Parties backing outgoing conservative President Alvaro Uribe won a majority of seats in Colombia’s congressional elections, results showed March 15. The outcome of March 14’s vote was seen as a boost for the chances of Juan Manuel Santos, a former defense minister who is hoping to succeed Uribe in presidential elections scheduled for May 30. Uribe is banned by the constitution from running for a third term. Santos described the outcome of the congressional vote as a victory “for the forces of President Alvaro Uribe.” More than 29 million Colombians were eligible to cast ballots in an election that was relatively peaceful in a country scarred by a decades-long guerrilla war. Some 237,000 soldiers were on duty to provide security at the more than 10,000 polling stations, where nearly 2,700 candidates were contesting 102 Senate seats and 166 lower house seats. (DPA)

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