Colombia's president wins himself four more years

AT VARIOUS times during the day, Colombia's president will be found standing on his head - the only way, he insists, to cope with the workload and the stress.

But Alvaro Uribe, 53, an Oxford-educated lawyer and yoga fanatic, can have few fears that tomorrow he will secure another four years in the job. He changed the constitution to allow him to stand for a second term he seems certain to get.

"I will never forget," shouted Mr Uribe during his final rally in Bogota, referring to a bomb in 2003 that killed 37 people in the capital's most exclusive social club. "That day I said that we cannot budge from the aim of a Colombia without terrorism."

With that statement, the president revealed why he will win another term. Colombians recall too well the 43-year civil conflict coming to the cities.

Under Mr Uribe there has been a big drop in murders and kidnappings and that has changed how people live their lives. No-one wants to go back.

"What other option do we have?" said Adriana Fonseca, 28, a boutique owner. "I know he is authoritarian, I know the war is not won. But I no longer fear being kidnapped off the street."

Mr Uribe has registered an average of 60 per cent support in every poll taken and is projected to win the elections in the first round with a similar margin.

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