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Columbia goes to the polls

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Columbia goes to the polls
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Opinion polls predict a closely fought presidential election as Columbians cast their votes today.

The South American nation’s 29 million voters have nine candidates to choose from but analysts say the election is essentially a two-horse race.

Unity Party candidate Juan Manuel Santos is currently leading the polls.

A former Defence Minister under Alvaro Uribe, he played a key role helping the outgoing president crush the FARC guerilla insurgency.

However Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus has seen his popularity soar, and could prove a tough opponent.

Supporters say the former two-time mayor of Bogota has helped transform life in the capital with parks, pedestrian bridges and quirky campaigns to encourage civic pride.

Critics say he’s not ready to lead the nation, nor continue the current president’s security legacy.

Uribe has wrestled back control of the state from FARC rebels during his two terms in office.

Thousands of police and soldiers have been deployed ahead of the poll in anticipation of possible attacks aimed at sabotaging the election.

If there is no clear winner, a run-off election is likely to be held on 20 June.