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Last Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Press hails Uribe victory
Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe greet supporters at his campaign headquarters
Mr Uribe won 62% of the vote

Leading newspapers in Colombia believe the victory of Alvaro Uribe in Sunday's presidential election confirms a seismic shift in the country's politics.

Commentators say Mr Uribe has consigned to history the traditional system under which the Conservative and Liberal Parties monopolised power. Many also point to the success of the Left, whose candidate Carlos Gaviria came second.

El Tiempo's editorial describes Mr Uribe as "a phenomenon" and the result as "truly historic for a multitude of reasons".

"For the first time in over a century, the country awakes today with a re-elected president."

"Moreover, there is a totally new political panorama in which the Liberal and Conservative Parties which have lorded over the scene for almost 200 years have been replaced by new forces."

According to El Tiempo, "Liberalism remains in intensive care while the Conservatives are in disarray".

Uribe has gained a seat of honour in our nation's history
El Colombiano

The daily also hails "that other phenomenon, the spirited stallion on the Colombian political track, Carlos Gaviria Diaz" and his "enormous triumph for the Left".

"This historic vote for the Left obliges the victorious leader to be more tolerant and temper his enthusiasm."

El Tiempo also expresses the hope that "this resounding victory does not serve to reinforce a certain arrogance the government has demonstrated during its first four years".

'Seat of honour'

Medellin's El Colombiano compares Mr Uribe to South America's liberator hero, Simón Bolívar, saying he has "gained a seat of honour in our nation's history".

It says his achievements of "democratic security and advances in the economic sphere" helped him to his "overwhelming victory".

Echoing many of its counterparts, the daily acknowledges that "these elections were among the most peaceful in recent times", putting it down to the tough line on security and crime taken by the president.

"It was a true Fiesta of Democracy."

Cali's El Pais cautions that although the president's tough line on security has improved the situation, "crime and insurgency continue to be a menace and maintain a huge capacity to inflict harm".

The paper advises Mr Uribe that there is still much work to be done.

The nation has increased its backing for a president who wishes to change the national panorama, and the rebels should start thinking of politics rather than bullets
El Nuevo Siglo

"The vast majority of voters recognised the leadership qualities of the president, his good economic performance and his efforts to regain the confidence of Colombians and the world at large.

"But the victory should not be taken as a blank cheque which could lead to triumphalism, rather as a mandate to continue along the correct path: realising the necessity to accentuate the fight against poverty and inequality."

El Nuevo Siglo argues that Mr Uribe's "anti-communist line" gained him a lot of support, and unlike other papers, describes the Left in Colombia as "archaic".

It says one of the president's priorities must be "to send a message to the Farc (leftwing rebel movement) telling it clearly the hour has come to end the war".

"The nation has increased its backing for a president who wishes to change the national panorama, and as such, the rebels should start thinking of politics rather than bullets."

Despite reservations, El Espectador believes that Mr Uribe has contributed to Colombia's wellbeing.

"We were and continue to be critical of the legislation permitting re-election, believing it is damaging to the body politic."

"However, it is indubitable that President Uribe has managed to return to the country the confidence it had lost, creating a propitious environment for investment."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

Q & A: Colombia election
25 May 06 |  Americas

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