Colombia`s Ex-President Alvaro Uribe is set to win over 2 million votes in next year`s congressional elections says poll.
Based on the findings of canvassers Datexco, Colombia`s three main political parties will all see their vote share reduced by hundreds of thousands when ballots are cast in March.
Leaders are staring down the barrel of a gun as President Santos supporting U Party is on course to lose over 900,000 votes, while some 660,000 will desert the Conservatives. And although Liberal Party boss, Simon Gaviria denies his collective will be affected, they are projected to shed 474,000 supporters.
Despite never having fought an election in the past, Uribe`s Centro Democratico (CD) movement is threatening to emerge as the largest party in congress, dealing a heavy blow to President Santos` hopes of a successful second period in office.
It is far too early to tell how soft the support for Uribe is; Senate and Representative lists for the CD were only announced last month and candidates face a long and brutal campaign. And while the former president himself remains hugely popular in certain sections of Colombian society, his running mates are largely invisible figures.
What ever the result next year, however, it looks certain that an incoming president will face a very different congress to that enjoyed by President Santos these past three years. Santos has ruled over a coalition government that controls over 90% of the legislature. Record numbers of laws have been passed, and opposition to the executive has been feeble, almost non-existent.
A congress with Uribe leading a pack of new and hungry senators is a prospect that has some political commentators salivating. Should Santos run for president again (he has until 25 November to announce his decision) and win, he would struggle to pull together a majority coalition in congress.
Colombia Politics expects the Conservatives will eventually join forces with the Uribistas of the CD. Santos must also face the reality that a number of supposed colleagues elected as U Party members remain loyal to their old boss, Uribe (rather than their current boss, Santos) and will link up with the Conservatives CD grouping.
If all remains to play for in the presidential elections, the same can also be said of the congressional vote.
Kevin is a political consultant and lobbyist who cut his teeth working in the UK Parliament. He is a regular panelist on Colombian television, a political communication strategist and a university lecturer. Kevin is the founder and editor of Colombia Politics.