Former guerrilla wins Colombia’s presidential election, first leftist chief in nation’s historical past

Former guerrilla member Gustavo Petro gained Colombia’s presidential election on Sunday to change into the nation’s first leftist head of state in a decent race marked by voters’ robust need for change.

Petro surpassed his rival, impartial businessman Rodolfo Hernández, by a margin of fifty.5% to 47% with 99.6% of the nation’s. polling stations reporting.

Hernández shortly conceded defeat, saying that Colombians have spoken, and mentioned he hopes their choice helps Colombia transfer ahead on the trail of change. “I wish for Doctor Gustavo Petro to know how to lead the country and for him to stand firm on his message against corruption and to not disappoint those who trusted him,s” Hernandez mentioned in a brief Facebook video.

Current President Ivan Duque congratulated Petro quickly afterwards, saying he had referred to as the president-elect and that they’d agreed to fulfill quickly to coordinate a harmonious and clear transition.

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A voter casting her vote in the course of the Colombia’s 2022 presidential runoff to decide on between Gustavo Petro and Rodolfo Hernandez on the Consulate General of Colombia in Coral Gables, Florida, on Sunday, June 19, 2022. David Santiago

On the eve of the runoff, polls confirmed the candidates in a statistical tie, with every round 41%. The closeness of the race evoked the specter of violence within the polarized nation and officers reported early on Sunday that they’d obtained a reputable risk of a attainable riot if the outcomes didn’t profit one of many candidates.

Officials didn’t point out which of the campaigns was behind the risk, however Petro made it evident it was his after he warned early within the morning that some irregularities had occurred at first of the vote.

Petro, 62, a former member of the M-19 terrorist group, had beforehand questioned the work of the electoral authorities, warning that he would analyze the voting outcomes whether or not or not he accepted them.

Petro’s statements had been instantly dismissed by the nation’s electoral authorities.

“In Colombia there is no possibility of fraud,” assured the nationwide elections registrar, Alexander Vega.

The leftist candidate, who has run thrice for the presidency, benefited this yr from the deep-rooted feeling of many Colombians who wish to see political change within the nation, after enduring for months the tough affect that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the economic system.

Most of the candidates who participated within the first spherical of the election in May hammered on the message of change of their campaigns, however Petro who had spent greater than a decade arguing for the necessity to shake up he established order within the nation, stood out.

However, the change that the previous member of the M-19 guerrilla group represents could also be too radical for a lot of. That sentiment was expressed by a variety of Colombian voters in Miami, who mentioned they worry {that a} Petro victory might problem the nation’s democracy.

“We want there to be a change by improving what there is, not by destroying what is there,” mentioned Salomón Torres. “Equality does not exist, nor will it exist, so everyone must work and obtain what they deserve with their own means,” he added, expressing his opposition to Petro’s socialist message.

With Sunday’s elections outcomes, Petro is poised to change into the primary leftist president of Colombia, a rustic historically dominated by both conservatives or moderates and which underwent many years of armed battle towards guerrillas that left 220,000 lifeless.

Petro himself, as a former member of the M-19, was imprisoned throughout his youth for rise up and arms possession earlier than he was launched after the demobilization of the guerrilla motion.

Petyro’s socialist pledges, coupled along with his guerrilla previous, are a supply of concern for a lot of of his critics, who accuse him of being too radical and examine him to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez when he gained the presidency in 1999 and later changed the nation’s democratic system with a socialist dictatorship.

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A voter casting his vote in the course of the Colombia’s 2022 presidential runoff to decide on between Gustavo Petro and Rodolfo Hernandez on the Consulate General of Colombia in Coral Gables, Florida, on Sunday, June 19, 2022. David Santiago

But others consider that Petro will be unable to observe within the footsteps of Chávez from the presidency of Colombia, as a result of the circumstances will not be the identical between the 2 nations, and since the leftist chief will face robust opposition that may power him to spend his 4 years in workplace making concessions to the armed forces and different key establishments.

Galardonado periodista con más de 30 años de experiencia, especializado en la cobertura de temas sobre Venezuela. Amante de la historia y la literatura.

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