(BOGOTA) Left opponent Gustavo Petro won the first round of Colombia’s presidential election by a large margin on Sunday, and will face an unranked, independent candidate in the second round, a surprising result that marks a historic defeat for Colombia. traditional right.
Posted at 10:18 am
Updated at 7:57 PM.
Senator Petro, who has been a favorite in polls throughout the campaign, received 40.32% of the vote, according to official results that covered 99% of the vote.
On June 19, he will be opposed by Rodolfo Hernandez, a controversial figure who is often dubbed “Colombian Trump” by the local press and looks like Berlusconi, who came in second with 28.20%.
But with the support of all the country’s institutional and traditional elites, conservative candidate Federico Gutierrez, nicknamed “Fico”, came in third with 23.87%, and Hernandez called for a vote in the second round.
In the view of all observers, Mr. Petro, 62, has been able to exploit the thirst for change that Colombians have shown in the face of inequality and corruption. The need to make his logo with his motto “for life”.
The four years of outgoing conservative president Evan Duque, who could not run for re-election, saw no substantive reform. It was marked by the epidemic, recession, mass anti-government protests in the cities, and increased violence by armed groups in the countryside.
“This vote is a message to the world that an era is about to come to an end,” Mr. Pietro commented to the cheers of his supporters.
This is the third time that Mr. Petro has participated in the presidential election. This time, he ran for Vice President Francia Márquez, a charismatic Afro-Colombian activist with a feminist and anti-racist discourse.
His assumption of the highest office would be a political earthquake in a country where conservatives have monopolized power for decades.
And he warned that “there can be void changes, changes that would be suicidal,” an apparent reference to his second-round opponent Rodolfo Hernandez.
We want to invite the entire Colombian community to make a real change. Today we have to decide what change we want, whether it’s suicide or moving forward.
To express his opinion: my opponent is accused of corruption, is this what we want? Will we go this way again? “.
Rodolfo Hernandez, 77, a former mayor of Bucaramanga (North) and a businessman with outrageous and often bizarre statements, at length smears corruption, even if he himself is involved in similar cases.
“The country has won today because it does not want to go on another day with the same people who have brought us to the painful situation we know,” Mr. Hernandez commented from his stronghold in Bucaramanga.
“We now know that there is a strong will of the citizens to put an end to corruption as a system of government,” he said, noting that “the next few days will be decisive in determining the future of the country.”
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.
Acknowledging defeat, the right-wing candidate immediately called for a vote for Hernandez on June 19. “We do not want to lose the country, and we will not jeopardize the future of Colombia, our families and our children,” he said.
Gustavo Petro (…) is not good for Colombia. He would be a danger to democracy, freedoms and rights, Fico said.
“A couple of weeks ago, no one could have imagined that tiktokero (a Tiktok fan) would be the strength of this first round” and that it could become “Petro’s worst nightmare,” the media commented in the Cambio line in the evening, about Mr. Hernandez.
“This impudent engineer, almost eighty years old, came out of nowhere, began to rise in the opinion 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 beating Petro “, Cambio was stunned.
“A lot of people realized that he had a higher chance of beating Petro than Vico,” Michael Schefter, a professor at US Georgetown University, said in an interview with AFP.
Ultimately, Hernandez established himself as “the most charismatic anti-establishment and anti-political figure”. He captured voters who were angry, but still suspicious of Petro. “Polls show Hernandez has a good chance of beating Petro,” said Schefter.
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