Through Colombia Elections former guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro has been elected as the President and became the first leftist head of state of the South American country.
In Colombia Elections, Petro beat Rodolfo Hernández:
Petro beat Rodolfo Hernández, a gaffe-prone former mayor of Bucaramanga and business mogul, with 50.47% of the vote in a runoff election on Sunday and will take office in July amid a host of challenges, Hernández had 47.27%, with almost all ballots counted, according to results released by election authorities.
Petro’s Colombia elections marks a tidal shift for Colombia, a country that has never before had a leftist president and follows similar victories for the left in Peru, Chile, and Honduras.
“Today is a party for the people,” tweeted the victorious candidate on Sunday night after the results came in. “May so many sufferings be cushioned in the joy that today floods the heart of the homeland.”
Petro issued a call for unity and extended an olive branch while delivering his victory speech, to some of his harshest critics, and welcomed all members of the opposition at the presidential palace “to discuss the problems of Colombia”.
US Secretary congratulated for fair and free Colombia elections:
“From this government that is beginning there will never be political persecution or legal persecution, there will only be respect and dialogue,” he said, adding that he will listen to not only those who have raised arms but also to “that silent majority of peasants, Indigenous people, women, youth”.
Iván Duque, the outgoing conservative president, congratulated Petro directly after the results were announced, and Hernández quickly accepted defeat.
“Today the majority of citizens have chosen the other candidate. As I said during the campaign, I accept the results of this Colombia elections,” Hernández said on social media while posting a video. “I sincerely hope that this decision is beneficial for everyone.”
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, congratulated “all the people of Colombia for making their voices heard in free and fair presidential Colombia elections”.
“We look forward to working with President-elect Petro to further strengthen the US-Colombia relationship and move our nations toward a better future,” he said in a statement.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Mexican president, called the Gustavo Petro win “historic”. “The conservatives of Colombia have always been tenacious and tough,” López Obrador tweeted.
Colombia elections 2022 creates history as nothing like this had happened before:
Petro’s journey from a fighter in the M-19 guerrilla army in the 80s to the president also saw him become a senator and the mayor of the capital, Bogotá. He has a reputation for giving political speeches and high-handedness.
Petro’s vice-president will be Francia Márquez – a prize-winning defender of human and environmental rights – marking the first time that a black woman fills the post.
“Today all women win,” tweeted Márquez as polls closed on Sunday afternoon. “We are facing the greatest possibility of change in recent times.”
“History has been broken because since we became a republic and got independence 200 years ago, nothing like this had happened,” said a Petro supporter. Andres Felipe Barrero.
“I’m very happy with the election of the new president. It completely marks the change we are expecting, although it is a bit partial, it is the change we were expecting,” said Diego León, who also voted for Petro.
“It is really a new moment for Colombia,” said Luis Eduardo Celis, who works at the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, a Colombian think tank. “A Colombia that has many pending issues to advance: an agrarian reform, an economy at the service of the people, a more equitable taxation, to get out of hunger, out of poverty, to put an end to all that violence.”
In the first round of Colombia elections a host of traditional politicians were expelled:
Hernández looked to be a contender, though could not escape an almost constant stream of scandal. He was referred to as a “great German thinker” like Hitler and has been filmed on a yacht in Miami with models. He ran much of his campaign with the help of Tik-Tok and he refused to attend any debates ahead of Sunday’s vote.
The new leader’s agenda will be the country’s faltering peace process with the leftist officials of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), which was signed in 2016 and formally ended five decades of civil war that killed more than 260,000 people and displaced more than 7 million.
Another headache for Petro will be neighboring Venezuela, which has been mired in social, political, and economic crises for years. Petro has advocated for a reopening of ties with Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro, bucking the Duque government’s policy of isolation.
Petro has also committed to weaning the country off its dependence on fossil fuels, worrying investors.
The Colombia elections were hotly contested, with many observers categorizing the race between two relative outsiders as a wider rebuke against the political class. A host of traditional politicians were ousted in the first round of Colombia elections.