Colombia’s presidential run-off will take place on Sunday, June 19, in which the progressive left with a past such as revolutionary Gustavo Petro and Rodolfo Hernandez, a right-wing populist, will contest. In the first round of elections, which they voted for on Sunday, none of the six self-presenting candidates received the absolute majority of votes needed to be elected president: Petro got just over 40 percent of the vote, while Hernandez did. . by 28 percent, surpassing Federico Gutierrez, the centre-right candidate who stopped at 24.
The results of the first round are remarkable for a traditionally conservative country that has not had a left-wing president in its history, and mark a turn toward change but also a defeat for the parties that have ruled the country for so long. However, the run-off will be very close as Gutierrez lent his support to Hernandez after Sunday’s defeat.
Petro had already run twice for president in the past; He is the leader of the leftist coalition Pakto Historico. Aged 62, he was a two-time senator and was the mayor of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia; He is also a former fighter in the April 19 Movement (M-19), a leftist revolutionary group active in the 1970s and 1980s that in 1990 signed a peace agreement with the government and withdrew from the armed struggle, becoming the Democratic Alliance. Party M. -19. It proposes free higher education, guaranteed state jobs for the unemployed, an end to oil and gas exploration in a country where hydrocarbons make up half of exports, and major tax reform to improve public health. If elected, he would be the first left-wing president in the country’s history.
On the other hand, Hernandez is 77 years old and he is a wealthy businessman who is mainly active in the real estate sector. He was mayor of the northern city of Bucaramanga and was involved in politics for a decade, but until shortly before the elections he was relatively unknown nationally. In these months Compared To former US President Donald Trump for his populist, conservative and anti-establishment rhetoric. He put anti-corruption at the center of his campaign, even though he was investigated by the country’s attorney general for favoring a company his son worked for when he was mayor.
The results of the first round of the presidential election were very disappointing especially for the centre-right, the political force of incumbent President Ivan Duque, whose term was marked by strong discontent and protests. In any case, the election of the next president is also noted with great interest because the recent legislative elections showed a major shift to the left in traditionally conservative national politics: for the first time in the history of Colombia, a republican presidential election, the Pacto Histórico is the main coalition in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies , with an unprecedented representation in the country’s recent history.
The 2018 elections in Colombia won the Democratic Center, the conservative Duque party, founded in 2013 by former President Alvaro Uribe, who with Duque campaigned for the “No to Peace” reached in 2016 with the FARC, the revolutionary group inspired by Marxism, for which decades fought against state institutions. But in recent years, Duque fought a sharp dispute over the tax reform bill, causing widespread demonstrations and protests across the country, but also for the management of the epidemic, which has caused massive economic problems in the country.
Gutierrez was backed by the country’s main conservative parties, who was voiced by the center-right Iquibo Por Colombia coalition and tried to convince voters that his election would represent a significant change from the center-right of the past. However, the center-right results were a failure, seeming to show the great distrust of Colombians in traditional politics. Immediately after the first round Gutiérrez announced its support to Hernandez for trying to cripple Petro, arguing that his eventual election would be “a danger to democracy, liberties, and the economy.”
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