A second round between left-wing opponent Gustavo Petro and independent Rodolfo Hernandez

Left opponent Gustavo Petro led on Sunday, May 29, in the first round of Colombia’s presidential election. He will face, in the second round, independent candidate Rodolfo Hernandez, according to the provisional official results published this evening.

Mr. Petro gathered 40.32% of the vote ahead of Mr. Hernandez (28.20%), referring to these results presented by the National Registry, responsible for organizing the poll, after more than 99% of the votes were counted. Conservative candidate Federico Gutierrez came in third with 23.87%, a surprising result that represented an unprecedented defeat for the traditional Colombian right.

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For the first time in its history, Colombia may elect a leftist president in the presidential election, the second round of which will take place on June 19. At the head of a coalition of progressive parties, candidate Gustavo Petro, 62, has been leading in all opinion polls for months.

In the view of all observers, Senator Petro, a former guerrilla convert to social democracy, economist and former mayor of Bogotá knew how to exploit the thirst for change that Colombians displayed in the face of inequality and corruption, a need made for him. with his logo “for life”.

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political earthquake

The four years of outgoing conservative president Evan Duque, who could not run for re-election, saw no substantive reform. They have been marked by an epidemic, a deep recession, massive anti-government protests in the cities and an increase in violence by armed groups in the countryside.

“There are only two options: leave things as they are, (…) Which means more corruption, violence and hunger. Or transform Colombia and lead it toward peace, prosperity, and democracy.”Mr Petro said Sunday after the vote in Bogota.

His assumption of the highest office would be a political earthquake in a country where conservatives have monopolized power for decades.

On Sunday evening, dozens of journalists waited for the first statements of the winner of this first round at his campaign headquarters in the capital. Around them, supporters of the Left Alliance celebrated with applause with each count confirming their hero’s progress.

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This is the third time that Mr. Petro has participated in the presidential election. This time, he has as Vice President, an Afro-Colombian, Francia Marquez. The rise of this charismatic activist to the top of the state with a feminist and anti-racist rhetoric would also mark a turning point in Colombian politics, which has traditionally been dominated by the same elites.

Confronting “Colombian Trump”

Rodolfo Hernandez leaves the polling station, after casting his vote in the presidential election in Bucaramanga, Colombia, May 29, 2022

As some polls indicated at the end of the campaign, millionaire Rodolfo Hernandez, 77, came second. The former mayor of Bucaramanga (North), a businessman with outrageous or often eccentric statements, has been dubbed by the local press as Colombian Trump.

While Mr. Gutierrez was seen throughout the campaign as a Petro rival, these surprising findings point to the historic collapse of Colombia’s old right, like its mentor, former President Alvaro Uribe, today mired in legal disputes.

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“Today the country has won because it does not want to go on another day with the same people who brought us to the painful situation we are in.”In the evening, Mr. Hernandez was suspended from his stronghold in Bucaramanga.

“We now know that there is a strong will among citizens to end corruption as a system of government.”Welcome to judge that “The coming days will be decisive in determining the future of the country.”. “I am counting on you to win the second round and thus be able to solidify that great path you opened today.”is done.

low turnout

“A couple of weeks ago, no one would have imagined that Tektokeru would be [fan de Tiktok] It will be the strength of this first round.” And it can become “Petro’s worst nightmare”commented in the evening on the online media Campusummarizing the surprise of the local press.

“This impudent engineer, who is almost eighty years old, came out of nowhere, began to rise in the polls and succeeded without leaving his home and thanks to a campaign on social media, to meet the aspirations of a part of the population and become the only candidate capable of striking Petro head-on.”was surprised Campu.

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The turnout was 54.8% and the voting process took place normally, according to the authorities. The vote was attended by a large number of international observers, including from the European Union and the Organization of American States, and nearly 300,000 police and military personnel were deployed across the territory, which has been plagued by increased violence by armed groups in recent months. Interior Minister Daniel Palacios spoke about a “Absolute calm without much change in public order”despite nearly 600 reported violations.

The world with AFP

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