Former CIAT board member leads race to become the next Colombian president

19 May, 2010 by (comments)

Ex-CIAT Board of Trustees (BOT) member Antanus Mockus is currently favourite to become the next president of Colombia, as the country gears up for national elections at the end of the month.

The philosopher and mathematician, who is also leader of the Green Party, is known for his unconventional policies and publicity stunts. He served as an “ex-officio” member of the CIAT board between 1991-1993 by virtue of his position as Rector of Colombia’s National University.

Mockus is renowned for an incident in 1993, unrelated to CIAT, when in an attempt to restore order at a debate at the National University, he stunned into silence a group of 2,000 heckling students by dropping his trousers on stage and showing them his backside.Within days he resigned from the post of Rector, simultaneously ending his entitlement to serve on the CIAT BOT.

But the “mooning” incident launched Mockus’ political career. Riding the resulting wave of publicity, he successfully ran as the first independent candidate for mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogotá, winning with the largest ever majority. Over the course of two non-consecutive terms, he became known for his quirkyinitiatives, which included fronting a city litter clean-up team wearing a superhero leotard and cape, and hiring over 400 street mimes to publicly ridicule traffic violators.

A poll last week by Datexo Company SA put Mockus three points ahead of rival Juan Manuel Santos in the race to become the country’s next president.

Colombia goes to the polls for the first round of voting on May 30th.

Find out more about the candidates in the race to become the next president of Colombia.

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Filed Under: Latin America and the Caribbean, Regions