Colombia held first-round presidential elections in late May, and while Uribe-backed opposition candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga came out ahead of incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos, neither candidate came close to garnering 50% of the vote, necessitating a runoff. Assuming that Zuluaga is able to pick up the votes of supporters of conservative candidate Marta Ramírez and President Santos is able to garner those originally intended for Obregón and Peñalosa, Santos has a chance of eking out a close victory, though the ultimate outcome remains contingent upon who turns out to vote. The most recent polls place the two men in a statistical dead heat.
While multinationals have little to fear in that both candidates are expected to preserve Colombia’s macroeconomic stability and pro-business policies, the candidates differ with respect to peace talks between the government and the FARC. President Santos supports continuing the talks which he helped to initiate and on which he has staked his reelection campaign, while Uribe-backed Zuluaga opposes talks and says he would demand a unilateral ceasefire before agreeing to resume negotiations. The possibility of a peace deal has already helped deliver security gains and has been a driving force behind the robust FDI inflows Colombia has seen in recent years, and thus, a victory for Zuluaga has the potential to undermine some of this momentum.