Gustavo Petro wins Colombian presidential race


The former guerrilla gained by a slim margin with over 50% of the votes, in opposition to 77-year-old entrepreneur Rodolfo Hernandez. In this historic win, his working mate Francia Marquez will now change into the primary Afro-Colombian to carry govt powers.

During his victory speech on Sunday night time, Petro stated he’s open to dialogue with Hernandez. He additionally known as for a Great National settlement to finish violence within the nation, saying, “What is coming right here is actual change, actual change. That is what we’re committing our lives to. We is not going to betray the voters that has demanded that Colombia change from in the present day.”

“Let’s rejoice the primary well-liked victory. May so many sufferings be cushioned within the pleasure that in the present day floods the center of the homeland,” Petro tweeted in celebration on Sunday night time.

Outgoing Colombian President Ivan Duque stated he known as Petro to congratulate him on his victory and that they’d “agreed to fulfill within the coming days to provoke a harmonious, institutional and clear transition.”

Shortly after Petro claimed victory, rival Hernandez gave a speech saying he accepted the end result.

“I settle for the end result appropriately if we would like our establishments to be robust. I sincerely hope that this determination that has been taken is useful for all and that Colombia is heading in direction of the change that prevailed within the vote within the first spherical,” he stated.

Hernandez additionally stated he hopes Petro is aware of how you can lead the nation and that “(Petro) is trustworthy to his speech in opposition to corruption and that he doesn’t disappoint those that belief him.”

Both candidates had run on guarantees of change, in search of to make the most of what number of Colombians are fed up with Duque — a pacesetter whose tenure has been outlined by his administration’s dealing with of police conduct, inequality, and clashes between organized prison teams.

Petro, 62, had already seen two failed presidential bids in 2010 and 2018. Sunday’s run-off vote means that he has lastly overcome the hesitation of voters who as soon as noticed him a radical left-wing outsider — no small feat for a politician trying to win over considered one of South America’s most conservative nations.

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The help Petro has garnered will be partially attributed to Colombia’s worsening socioeconomic state of affairs, together with deteriorating dwelling circumstances, made worse by the impression of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impression of the struggle in Ukraine.

While Colombia has seen spectacular financial development in recent times, inequality charges stay among the many world’s highest, with almost half of Colombians saying that the financial system is headed within the fallacious course, in line with a current Gallup ballot.

Petro has traditionally campaigned in favor of upper company taxes and public subsidies for the working class and the poor, a tactic that may assist him draw extra individuals from that demographic to his camp.

Petro’s get together and allies had been already the biggest bloc within the Senate — although they don’t management a majority of seats.

A chequered previous

Born within the rural north Colombian city of Ciénaga de Oro, Petro spent his youth within the ranks of a leftist guerrilla motion, the nineteenth of April Movement (M19) — based to protest in opposition to allegations of fraud within the 1970 elections.

The group was a part of a so-called second wave of guerrilla actions within the nation that swept the area within the Nineteen Seventies beneath the affect of the Cuban Revolution.

M19 was related to criminality — together with alleged kidnappings for ransom — however Petro says he carried out authorized actions that aimed to mobilize individuals to face as much as what he known as a “false democracy,” even serving as a councilman within the metropolis of Zipaquirá.

Petro was detained by the police in 1985 for concealing weapons. Shortly after, M19 launched an assault to take over Bogota’s Supreme Court constructing that left no less than 98 individuals killed, together with 12 magistrates (11 are nonetheless lacking). Petro denies he was concerned within the assault, which occurred whereas he was behind bars.

Colombian military protect a group of magistrates leaving the Palace of Justice in Bogota on November 6, 1985.

By the time Petro was launched in 1987, after 18 months in army jail, his ideological perspective had modified. He stated that point helped him understand that an armed revolution was not one of the best technique to win well-liked help.

Two years later, M19 entered peace negotiations with the Colombian state, with Petro able to battle the system from the within.

A gradual marketing campaign

Since shedding the 2018 election, Petro has persistently tried to minimize fears that his financial plan — which additionally proposes a halt to fossil gas explorations and renegotiation of worldwide commerce agreements — is “too radical” for Colombia. He has since surrounded himself with extra conventional politicians who may construct bridges with the institution.

Now, he is presenting himself as a brand new sort of progressive.

In April, he signed a pledge to not expropriate any non-public land if elected. He’s additionally tipped a reasonable to be his financial minister, and has sought to make worldwide ties with new progressives, such because the United States’ Congressional Progressive Caucus, moderately than conventional left-wing leaders like Bolivia’s Evo Morales.

Petro speaks during his closing campaign rally ahead of the first round of the presidential elections, in Bogota, Colombia on May 22.

His critics have stated he’s too mental and indifferent — if not outright pedantic, with even his personal marketing campaign crew referring to him as “the Petroxplainer,” given his tendency to lecture.

To counter this, he is been campaigning in among the nation’s most impoverished areas, the place he is been chatting with locals in conversations streamed on Instagram.

Petro guess on Colombians to imagine in him as an advanced politician, telling CNN that he is managed to efficiently mix his revolutionary zeal with apply public administration.

Next, the previous guerrilla — whose nom-de-guerre Aureliano Buendia is taken from author Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism traditional, One Hundred Years of Solitude — hopes to set off a scientific revolution in Colombia, asking economists to run by means of his proposals.

“Magical realism comes from the center whereas my scientific proposals are from the mind. To rule you want them each,” he stated.

Reporting contributed by CNN’s Michelle Velez.

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