Two anti-establishment candidates, left-wing populist Gustavo Petro and right-wing populist Rodolfo Hernández won the top two seats in Colombia’s presidential election on Sunday, dealing a surprise blow to the country’s conservative political elite.
The two men will compete in a runoff election on June 19, which is expected to be one of the most important in the country’s history. The country’s economic model, democratic integrity, and the lives of millions of people who were thrown into poverty as a result of the epidemic are all on the line. According to Daniel Garcia-Pea, a Colombian political analyst, the struggle between Petro and Hernandez sets “change against change.”
The election drew 54% of eligible voters, which was the same as in 2018 when Petro ran against current President Ivan Duque and other candidates. Despite escalating violence in areas of the nation where armed groups have resurfaced, the election day was quiet, with millions of Colombians voting.
The Electronic Transmission:
At 99.99 percent of tables, Bulletin No. 68:
Results of the preliminary count:
- Francia and Gustavo Petro 40.32 percent for Marquez.
- Rodolfo Hernández and Marelen Castillo each received 28.15 percent of the vote.
- Federico Gutierrez and Rodrigo Lara each received 23.91 percent of the vote.
- 4.20 percent Sergio Fajardo and Luis Gilberto Murillo.
- Sandra De Las Lajas and John Milton Rodrguez: 1.29 percent.
- 0.23 percent: Enrique Gómez and Carlos Cuartas.
Colombians have delivered an extraordinary punishment to the conventional parties, particularly the right, which has been banished from the presidential election for the first time.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Was the Country’s First Left-Wing Leader.
Petro would become Colombia’s first leftist president if he wins the runoff next month, marking a watershed moment for a nation long governed by a conservative ruling elite.
Petro emerged with his running companion at a hotel in downtown Bogota after the vote and claimed the results demonstrated that the current president’s and his supporters’ political vision “had been destroyed.”
He then went on to warn against Hernandez, stating that voting for him would be a “grave setback,” and pushing the voters to gamble on a progressive initiative, “a true transformation.”
His ascent represents not just a leftward movement in Latin America, but also a drive against incumbent administrations, which has gained steam as the epidemic has increased poverty and inequality, heightening the perception that the region’s economies are designed solely to benefit the wealthy.
Petro has pledged to change Colombia’s economic structure, which he claims drives inequality, by boosting social programs, halting oil exploitation, and reorienting the country’s agriculture and industries toward national production.
Colombia has long been America’s best friend in the area, and Petro is pushing for a rethinking of the relationship, including adjustments in the drug war strategy and a rethinking of a bilateral trade agreement that might lead to a showdown with Washington.
Gutierrez, who has the backing of a sizable portion of the conservative establishment, calls for little changes to the existing quo, such as additional funding for local governments.
Hernandez, who was virtually unknown until the last days of the campaign when he started to soar in the polls, runs on a populist anti-corruption platform, but his desire to proclaim a state of emergency to accomplish his aims has raised concerns.
“Today he lost the nation of politicking and corruption,” Hernandez said on Facebook following the election results on Sunday. “Today they lost the sheaves of government that they thought would last forever.”
Many citizens are fired up with growing prices, high unemployment, poor earnings, rising education expenses, and rising violence, and surveys suggest that the incumbent president, Ivan Duque, is widely seen as a member of the conservative elite.
The election takes place at a time when public opinion surveys reveal rising skepticism about the country’s institutions, particularly the National Registry, which is in charge of elections. The registrar’s office made mistakes in the first recount of ballots from the parliamentary elections in March, raising fears that the losing presidential candidates may claim that the election was rigged.
The Process of Democracy.
In addition, violence is on the rise in the nation, undermining the democratic process. This election season was the most violent in the past 12 years, according to the Electoral Observation Mission.
Both Petro and his running companion, Francia Márquez, have received death threats, prompting the addition of bodyguards with riot shields to their security precautions.
Despite these risks, the elections have given many Colombians renewed optimism, since they have long thought that their opinions were not heard at the highest echelons of government. Marquez, a former domestic worker and environmental activist who, if elected, would be the country’s first black vice president, is part of the reason for this hope.
His campaign has centered on fighting systematic inequality, with his most famous slogan is “living delicious,” which can be translated as “living wealthy and with dignity.”
A Runoff Will Be Held Between Petro, a Socialist, and Hernandez, a Rightist.
Colombia’s presidential election saw two anti-establishment candidates, leftist Gustavo Petro and right-wing populist Rodolfo Hernández, take the top two seats, throwing a serious blow to Colombia’s powerful and conservative political elite.
On June 19, the two will compete in a runoff election that is shaping up to be one of the most significant in the country’s history. The country’s economic model, democratic integrity, and the lives of millions of people who were thrown into poverty as a result of the epidemic are all on the line.
Petro earned more than 40% of the vote with more than 99 percent of the ballots collected Sunday night, while Hernandez received just over 28%. Hernandez defeated the main political class candidate, conservative Federico Gutierrez, who had been in second place in the polls, by more than four percentage points. Hernandez’s stunning second-place finish reflects a population willing to elect someone who is not backed by the country’s most powerful conservatives.
Ivan Duque, the current President.
“It’s a vote against Duque, against the political elite,” said Colombian political analyst Daniel Garcia-Pea, referring to current President Ivan Duque, who was elected four years ago with the backing of Colombia’s most influential conservative, Alvaro Uribe.
According to him, the battle between Petro and Hernandez pits “change against change.” Petro is a former rebel warrior and left-wing senator who advocates for a change in Colombia’s capitalist economic system. The runoff was expected to be against Gutierrez next month.
Petro, on the other hand, will face Hernandez, a businessman and former mayor with an anti-corruption program and an irreverence akin to Donald Trump, who was mostly unknown until a few weeks ago.
The election was marked by significant dissatisfaction with long-term poverty, inequality, and rising insecurity. The nation has a ten percent inflation rate, a twenty percent youth unemployment rate, and a forty percent poverty rate. At the same time, invader surveys reveal that practically all institutions, including Congress, political parties, the Armed Forces, the police, and the media, are experiencing increased public skepticism.
Colombian Politics’ Two Major Driving Causes.
Many voters have rejected the two driving forces of Colombian politics, according to Pea-Garcia:
political dynasties controlled by a few families and Uribismo, a hard-line conservatism named after its creator, former President Alvaro Uribe, who served from 2002 to 2010. Both Petro and Hernández offer the nation new — and dramatically different — routes.
Petro would be Colombia’s first leftist president if he is elected in the second round. It recommends a substantial expansion of social programs while also recommending that all new oil exploration be halted, thereby cutting off a major source of revenue. Many Colombians support them because they think the right has failed them. “This is the awakening of many young people who recognized that our grandparents and parents were duped,” said Camila Riveros, a Petro supporter, who is 30 years old. “All the redemption history that wasn’t accurate was placed in.”
Just One Problem.
Hernandez, a former mayor of a medium-sized community, has campaigned on a single issue: imprisoning the corrupt, although his positions on other matters are less clear. He’s suggested merging numerous departments to save money and declaring a state of emergency for 90 days to combat corruption, prompting worries that he’ll shut down Congress or suspend mayors.
Some people, on the other hand, believed his promises drew them in. Salvador Rizo, a 26-year-old technology consultant from Medellin, stated, “I believe his business approach of things is akin to Trump’s.” “I believe the other candidates are gazing at a burning home and want to put out the fire while leaving the house exposed,” he said. “I believe Rodolfo believes that this home has the potential to become a large hotel in the future.”
The Establishment’s Conservatives Backed Hernández.
Rodolfo Hernandez, the right-wing anti-establishment candidate, stated in a Facebook post to his fans that Sunday’s results placed him in a tight second place behind Gustavo Petro.
Hernandez’s stunning second-place finish reflects a population willing to elect someone who is not backed by the country’s most powerful conservatives.
The candidate ran a campaign that was devoid of many of Colombia’s conventional political trappings. On Sunday, his campaign uploaded a video of him in a swimming suit in the pool with his granddaughter on Election Day, while his opponents arrived to vote surrounded by crowds of media and voters.
“Today they lost the sheaves that they believed would be government forever,” he wrote in his victory address. He went on to say, “I am conscious of the necessity to unify our nation on the road of progress.” “I am also aware of the challenges that would face me as president of the country.”
Petro Has a Major Task with The Statement.
In the months preceding up to the election, the majority of the most influential conservative politicians, as well as a significant portion of the business sector, rallied around Federico Gutierrez, the governing political class’s nominee.
However, within minutes after Hernandez’s second-place finish, significant elements of the political establishment started to show their support.
On Twitter, Maria Fernanda Cabal, an important right-wing senator whose husband controls a major cattle industry group, declared, “Rodolfo’s success is the triumph over the establishment.” “Not the suicide that Petro proposes, but the power, order, and wealth that a businessman like him can provide,” Gutierrez announced his support for Hernandez on Sunday night, a move that is expected to send many of Gutierrez’s five million votes to the former mayor of Colombia’s eleventh-largest city in the June runoff.
Gutierrez explained his choice at a business center in Bogota, flanked by his supporters, as an endeavor to “take care of democracy and take care of freedom.” He said, “We don’t want to lose the nation.” It was never expected that Gutierrez would support Petro, an ideological foe. However, it was unclear if he would back Hernandez.
The declaration is a big challenge for Petro, who some political observers feel has already hit his voting limit, perhaps handing the president to Hernández, a wild-card contender with few concrete ideas who was almost unknown in Colombia until a few weeks ago.