Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday named former Cabinet member German Vargas Lleras as his running mate in his bid for a second four-year term.
Santos made the announcement with Vargas Lleras at his side during a speech to the Good Government Foundation in Bogota.
The 52-year-old lawyer is the grandson of President Carlos Lleras Restrepo and served successively as interior minister and housing minister in the Santos administration.
“This choice does not correspond to any political calculation or last-minute electoral alliance,” Santos said. “It corresponds to an intimate conviction of the great personal qualities of German Vargas Lleras as a person and as a public man.”
The president also hailed Vargas Lleras’ “incredible capacity to execute,” pointing to the 69 bills his running mate shepherded through Congress as interior minister and his implementation of a program to provide free housing to the poor.
“I want an active vice presidency that is engaged with the great projects, the great challenges the country has,” Santos said.
Vargas Lleras finished third in the 2010 presidential election, well behind Santos and Green Party hopeful Antanas Mockus.
The current vice president, Angelino Garzon, announced months ago that he would not seek re-election. He is to become Colombia’s ambassador to Brazil.