By Peter Murphy for Reuters Africa

Thu Jun 12, 2014

Colombians pick a new president on Sunday in a tight runoff election fought over whether peace talks with leftist guerrillas or a renewed military offensive stand the best chance of ending 50 years of war in the Andean country.

President Juan Manuel Santos and right-wing challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, both market-friendly former finance ministers, have divided the electorate over their different approaches to ending a conflict that has killed around 220,000 people since 1964.

It is Colombia’s tightest election in decades. One of three polls published late last week put the candidates in a dead heat, while the other two gave a firm lead to one or the other.

“In this election we will choose how we will reach peace. Through dialogue or fighting,” said Ingrid Barrero, 34, a Bogota accountant who plans to vote for Zuluaga.

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