On May 30, Colombia is holding a Presidential election to determine who succeeds President Álvaro Uribe, who was unable to secure a referendum to amend the country’s constitution to allow him to run for a third term. Despite Uribe’s popularity, his chosen successor, Juan Miguel Santos is currently running second to a much more interesting character.
Antanas Mockus is a mathematician and philosopher of Lithuanian descent who was forced to resign as President of Colombia’s National University after mooning unruly students at an assembly, an event that launched his political career, propelling him to victory in Bogotá’s mayoral election in 1994.
He served as mayor of Bogotá twice: 1995-1997 and 2001-2003. Some of his policies included replacing traffic cops with mimes and closing down Bogotá’s bars early. His role in Bogotá is covered in a somewhat hagiographic documentary called Bogotá Change on the Mayoralty of Bogotá between 1995 and 2003 during Mockus’ tenure and that of Enrique Peñalosa between his two terms.
Currently Mockus is running ahead in the polls, but not with the majority needed to avoid a runoff election, which would be held on June 20, though polls also suggest that he would win the runoff.
Via Tyler Cowen