Senor Alfonso Lopez Michelsen, a 60-year-old teacher, writer and liberal, looked certain to become President of Colombia on Monday (22 April) after the first open general election for more than 25 years.
GV People around news stand.
SV Man holding paper with election headline.
CUs AND CU TILT DOWN Election posters(5 shots)
MV Lopez at press conference(2 shots)
SCU Lopez talking to newsmen(2 shots)
CU Lopez speaking
GV Lopez speaking to newsmen
Initials AE/22.27 AE/22.35
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Background: Senor Alfonso Lopez Michelsen, a 60-year-old teacher, writer and liberal, looked certain to become President of Colombia on Monday (22 April) after the first open general election for more than 25 years.
The strongest of his four opponents, conservative Alvaro Gomez, admitted defeat shortly after midnight.
The other candidates were far behind. They included socialist Senora Maria Eugenia Rojas de Moreno, the first woman ever to run for a South American Presidency. With 80 per cent of the votes counted, Senor Lopez had 2,019, 874 votes to Senor Gomez's 1,266,592.
Senor Lopez began his political career by opposing the Liberal Party. He rebelled when the liberals made a pact with their traditional rivals the conservatives to end nearly ten years of civil war in 1957. The two parties agreed to alternate four-year terms of the Presidency and share other governmental posts.
Senor Lopez later rejoined the Liberal Party. But rebelled again last year when party boss Senor Lleras proposed that pact with the conservative should be prolonged.
Senor Lopez won the inter-party struggle that followed and was nominated for the election as leader of the left-wing branch of his party.
The election was the first since the agreement in which conservatives and liberals had put rival candidates, but more than half the electors abstained.