Gustavo Petro: Who is the first left-wing president in Colombia?

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Another historic aspect of Mr Petros’s victory: an Afro-Colombian has been elected Vice President for the first time – she is only the second woman to take office.

The result of yesterday presidential elections in Colombia is characterized as historical: the opposition Gustavo Petros is the first candidate of the left who was elected president in the history of this Latin American state, with the ambition to “change” a country into a crisis, which has never experienced such a change.

Mr. Petros, 62 years old, received 50.45% of the votesversus 47.30% of his opponentτου eccentric millionaire Rodolfo Hernandezaccording to the official results of the second round of voting, with 99.95% of the ballots counted.

With 11.2 million votes, the senator won by a margin of about 700,000 votes the real estate businessman (10.5 million), who was credited with the surprise of the first round, when he knocked out the candidate of the right.

Participation in the process (58%) was the highest since the beginning of the century.

“Inevitable” change

“It’s a day of celebration for the people. Let him celebrate the first popular victory “, celebrated via Twitter o once a rebel and former mayor in the capital Bogota.

He wished the “sufferings” to pass “from the joy that floods the heart of the homeland”.

“Colombians, today (yesterday Sunday) the majority of citizens chose the other candidate. “As I said during my campaign, I accept the result of this election.” stated on his part Mr. Ερνάντες in a video from his home that was uploaded directly by his team to social networking sites.

“I wish Dr. “Gustavo Petros to know how to govern the country and remain faithful to his word for the fight against corruption”, he added, sullen.

THE outgoing right-wing President Ivan Duque reported via Twitter that he called the winner to “congratulate him”. We will “meet in the coming days to begin a harmonious, institutional and transparent transfer” of power, added Mr. Duque, whose term ends on August 7.

Another historic aspect of Mr Petros’s victory: an Afro-Colombian has been elected Vice President for the first time – she is only the second woman to take office.

The charismatic Franca Brands40 years old, poor villager, activist from a young age against the gold mines, is believed to have played a key role in the campaign.

The results caused excitement in the big hall in the center of the capital where Mr. Petros’s team had organized, with music and spectacles, its election night. The slogans of the campaign were displayed on giant screens: “With Petros, change is inevitable”, or even “The whole of Colombia wins”.

“We will finally have a change,” said 25-year-old Lushimar. The change that “the people of Colombia have longed for for over a hundred years,” said 72-year-old Edgar.

Many challenges

These elections marked a heavy defeat for the conservative and liberal elites in power for two centuries in the fourth strongest economic power in Latin America.

The two candidates who prevailed in the first round spoke of a rift, “anti-systemic”, with Mr. Petros (40%) projecting a “progressive vision” and Mr. Hernandez (28%) promising to end the “thieves” and “corruption”, endemic to the country.

The election campaign was extremely bitter, marked by insults, accusations of all kinds, misinformation, “revelations” that were blows below the waist. Polls put the two rivals in an ambiguous battle.

As in the first, no extensive episodes were reported that could cause a problem in the second round, which was watched by dozens of observers and foreign missions.

The European Union, which has deployed an observer mission in the country, congratulated Mr Petros and Mrs Markes on their victory and this “rotation that is part of democracy”, as stated by Ambassador Jill Bertrand.

The assumption that the result would be too ambiguous had raised concerns in recent days, with Mr. Petros’s faction expressing doubts about the reliability of the process and especially the counting software.

The elections were held against the backdrop of the deep crisis in the country after the pandemic, the paralyzing economic recession, the relentlessly suppressed anti-government demonstrations, the new escalation of the violence of the armed organizations operating in the provinces and fighting for control of drug trafficking.

This was the third time that Mr. Petros was a candidate in the presidential elections; the previous one was in 2018.

After the zigzag across the country, his nearly 100 pre-election rallies before the first round, in the last three weeks he tried to show that he is close to the ordinary citizen, to correct the image of the politician who says bold words, the authoritarian , of the man with messianic tendencies created by his opponents.

“I have dedicated my career to the fight for social justice, against inequality and corruption,” the father of six recalled in recent days, promising to rule “out of love rather than hatred” and change the system “they ruled here. so many years themselves “.

Mr. Petros announces a stronger state, more taxes for the richest, faster energy transition …

However, “much of the country” fears him because of his past on the far left – he was a rebel of the far-left Movement of 19 April (Movimiento 19 de Abril, M-19) and was tortured by the authorities during the civil war – and “He wanted to ‘see him president,'” said Sergio Guzman, an analyst at consulting firm Colombia Risk Analysis.

He is called upon to rule with fragmented power in parliament, as his faction, the “Historical Alliance” (Pacto Histórico por Colombia, PHxC), is a leading force, but with conservatives and liberals maintaining a strong presence.

He also called for overcoming strong reservations in the military, tackling inflationary pressures and the fact that Colombia’s institutions are weak and politicized, according to Guzman.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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