Colombia VP Vargas to resign, nominated successor is ex-police chief

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian Vice President German Vargas Lleras has announced he will step down on Wednesday, fueling speculation that he will run in presidential elections next year.

President Juan Manuel Santos nominated former national police chief General Oscar Naranjo as Vargas’ successor, stating he wanted Naranjo to strengthen security and the drive to stamp out coca cultivation.

Vargas, a member of the center-right Cambio Radical party, has said he has not decided whether to run for president, but Wednesday is the last day a government official must resign to be eligible to compete for the presidency in 2018.

In announcing his decision to step down in a speech on Tuesday night, Vargas, 55, said he was keeping his options open.

A growing number of media commentators and political analysts believe Vargas will become a presidential contender and run against the candidate of Santos’ ruling U party.

As vice president since 2014, Vargas focused on infrastructure…