Home WORLD AMERICA Presidential election in Colombia: left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro wins the first round

Presidential election in Colombia: left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro wins the first round

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Mr. Petro cumulates 40.33% of the vote, ahead of Mr. Hernandez (28.14%), indicate these results given by the National Register, responsible for the organization of the ballot, after the counting of more than 97% of the ballots.

The conservative candidate Federico Gutierrez, representative of the traditional Colombian right, is in third position with 23.9%.

The moment of truth has arrivedhad summed up the press of the day in the morning by talking about an election historical after a campaign exhausting, very murky and terribly polarized.

Outgoing conservative President Ivan Duque, who cannot stand for re-election, opened the ballot by voting in the early morning in Bogota.

In the capital, under the drizzle and the greyness, the vote had started smoothly in the city center, without large lines of voters in front of schools and other municipal halls.

The morning mobilization was much more visible under the sun in the provinces, for example in Cucuta, a border town with Venezuela.

Gustavo Petro, ex-guerrilla and economist

Nearly 39 million voters were expected in 12,000 polling stations, where they had the choice between six candidates.

Leading the polls, left-wing senator Gustavo Petro, an ex-guerrilla convert to social democracy, economist and former mayor of Bogota, has capitalized on the thirst for change which he made his emblem.

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

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It’s time for trust, coexistence and the will to changehe said before voting with his family in Bogota.

  Conservative candidate Federico Gutierrez.

Conservative candidate Federico Gutierrez with his wife and son.

Photo: AP/Jaime Saldarriaga

This is the third time that Mr. Petro, 62, has participated in the presidential election. As running mate for the vice-presidency, he bet on Francia Marquez, a charismatic Afro-Colombian, activist with a feminist and anti-racist discourse, who has already established herself as one of the outstanding phenomena of this presidential election.

Opposite, the conservative candidate Federico Gutierrez, former mayor of Medellin (second largest city in the country), wants to be the defender of Colombians ordinaryto which he promises order and security.

From the classic denunciatory speech of the scarecrow Communist, ficofor his supporters, had also adopted in recent days the antiphon of change, calling himself the candidate of the common sense while taking great care to stand out from the old Colombian right.

Colombian Trump

fico was seriously trailed in the polls by independent candidate Rodolfo Hernandez, a 77-year-old millionaire entrepreneur with a populist rhetoric who vilifies corruption.

Often referred to as Colombian Trump by the press, Mr. Hernandez voted in his stronghold of Bucaramanga.

Rodolfo Hernández.

Candidate Rodolfo Hernandez shows his ballot before entering the voting booth.

Photo: AP/Mauricio Pinzon

Everything is well organized, it only took me a few minutes to votewelcomed Eliana, a 36-year-old nurse in Bogota, for whom the left is on the rise in these elections, especially among young people.

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We all want a change, said Elison, a 34-year-old hotel worker. Other voters deplored the usual left-right duel. We only have the choice between these two pathssaid regretfully John, a 54-year-old trader.

Whatever the result, it’s going to be boom! said he estimated Valentina, a 19-year-old student, moved to vote for the first time in elections decisive.

A vote under high tension

The election is taking place in a climate of intense political tension after four years without major fundamental reform marked by the pandemic, a deep recession, massive demonstrations in the cities and an increase in violence by armed groups in the countryside.

the wall (strike) of spring 2021, severely repressed by the police, revealed the extent of frustration, especially among young people, in the face of poverty, inequality and corruption, the endemic evil of the country.

In rural areas, guerrillas and armed groups linked to drug trafficking have increased their violence and their hold on communities, undermining the few achievements of the peace agreement signed in 2016 with the Marxist FARC.

A plethora of international observers, notably from the European Union, monitor the ballot, but there are also nearly 120,000 scrutineers appointed by the two main candidates.

The government deployed a total of 300,000 police and military to the country to provide security during the vote.

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