May 7, 2010 / 2:40 PM / 9 years ago

Colombian candidate Mockus edges over Santos: poll

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian presidential candidate Antanas Mockus has a slight lead over rival Juan Manuel Santos less than a month before the presidential election and would win in a second-round run-off, a poll said.

Colombia's presidential candidate for the Green Party Antanas Mockus speaks during an interview with Reuters in Bogota May 4, 2010. REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez

Mockus, a two-time mayor of Bogota known for his anti-corruption stance, won 38 percent of intended votes while former defense minister Santos took 34 percent, according to the poll by Centro Nacional de Consultoria released late Thursday night.

With neither candidate securing enough support for an outright victory in the May 30 election, they will face a run-off in June with the poll showing that Mockus would win 50 percent with Santos taking 43 percent.

Third-place Conservative Party candidate Noemi Sanin secured 11 percent of the intended votes.

The poll, carried out by telephone for local media, was conducted with 1,000 people in 38 cities and had a margin of error of 3 percent.

President Alvaro Uribe must step down this year after two terms marked by his tough security campaign against leftist FARC rebels and cocaine traffickers and by his pro-business approach that has brought back foreign investment.

Both leading candidates are promising to continue the basic policies investors praise for improving security and guaranteeing economic stability.

Mockus has surged in polls with his message of continuity but with more focus on clean government and economic development. Santos, responsible for some high-profile successes against guerrillas, is suffering from the fallout of corruption scandals in the Uribe administration, analysts say.

Polls show Colombians now are more concerned with jobs, healthcare and education than with rebel violence.

Colombia has seen a decline in massacres, kidnappings and bombings from its long war as U.S.-backed troops retook areas from guerrillas and outlawed paramilitaries. Oil and mining investment is booming as the conflict wanes.

Reporting by Patrick Markey in Bogota; Editing by Bill Trott

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