BOGOTA, June 21 (Reuters) - Colombia’s former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos easily won the Andean nation’s top office on Sunday, defeating his rival by more than 40 percentage points. [ID:nN20212033]
Santos will take over the world’s no. 5 coal exporter and its third largest coffee exporter from popular incumbent Alvaro Uribe who has been credited with battering guerrillas and attracting an influx of foreign investment.
Here are some of Santos’ main polices on the economy, commodities, security and foreign ties.
* The former finance minister wants to lower corporate taxes, clear barriers on investment and help drive growth by developing five areas — infrastructure, housing construction, oil and mining, agriculture and improved education. He plans to create 2.4 million jobs in the formal sector by 2014. Santos wants to lower unemployment to single digits from around 12 percent currently. An overseas fund for commodities revenues would ease peso pressure, which has strengthened on dollar inflows. His possible finance minister, Juan Carlos Echeverry, says Santos would try to expand the tax base to generate revenue. But Santos is not in favor of complicated or prolonged tax reforms.
* Santos sees no change in regulation for coal in the world’s fifth largest coal exporter, according to economic advisers. The president-elect plans to expand railroads connecting central coal areas to the main network using some combination of public-private partnerships or concessions. Campaign officials say there will be "substantial intervention" in ports. On oil revenues, Santos plans to reform the management of royalties, using about half or an estimated 1 percent of GDP for a special fund and half to be spent on infrastructure and promoting agriculture. His economic advisers also say there will be reform of natural gas regulation.
* As Uribe’s former defense minister, Santos is well-placed to continue the security policies. He promises "not one step back," saying he will keep up military pressure on armed groups and focus on crime in the cities by strengthening police forces. He says he will not negotiate with the FARC rebels unless they first cease hostilities. The world’s No. 1 cocaine producer could also help central American and Caribbean nations with their fight against drug cartels, Santos says.
* Santos says he and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are like "oil and water," and Chavez calls Santos a threat to the region. But the next Colombian leader insists the two could still work together. As defense minister, Santos signed a deal to allow U.S. troops more access to Colombian bases and helped orchestrate an attack on Colombian rebels in Ecuadorean territory. He says he would develop a more equal relationship with Washington rather than one based only on military aid. (Writing by Jack Kimball, editing by Vicki Allen)