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Colombia: Gustavo Petro promises to govern by “consensus” and prepares a cabinet that generates trust

Colombia began the transition to its first center-left government at the hands of senator and former guerrilla Gustavo Petro, who raised a “great national agreement” to carry out ambitious reforms in the face of the division of the country.

The team of advisers to the president-elect accelerated their search for “a cabinet of consensus” that includes several names of recognized experience in their areas of work, while the business corporations opened a loan to the future government.

Petro broke the tradition of conservative and liberal leaders by winning last Sunday in the second round with 50.4% of the votes, defeating the populist millionaire Rodolfo Hernández (47.3%), according to the official count.

With an advantage of 700,601 votes, the president-elect convinced half of Colombians with his plan to transform a country with the second widest gap between rich and poor in Latin America and plagued by drug violence.

The campaign headquarters of the candidate Gustavo Petro, in Bucaramanga (Colombia). Photo EFE

“The two Colombians”

Petro will take office on August 7 together with its vice president Francia Márquez, the first Afro woman to reach the highest echelons of power. The victory of both was well received by most of the capitals of the Latin American region, while the United States announced its willingness to work with the future president.

The European Union in turn highlighted the “unquestionable result” of the election. Meanwhile, this Monday the outgoing government of Iván Duque guaranteed a “peaceful, harmonious and transparent” transition.

In his victory speech, Petro put radical ideas aside and invited the “two Colombias” that demonstrated at the polls to a “great national agreement to build the maximum consensus” around the ambitious reforms he proposed in the campaign.

“The change consists precisely in leaving hatred behind, in leaving sectarianism behind. The elections more or less showed two close Colombias in terms of votes. We want Colombia, in the midst of its diversity, to be one” she affirmed. He also maintained that under his government “there will be no political persecution” no matter how “iron and tenacious” the opposition may be.

Because it is a holiday in Colombia, the stock market and the foreign exchange market will react on Tuesday to the triumph of the left in the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

The elected vice president reinforced Petro’s message. “The step of reconciliation is with 50 million Colombians; it is with everyone that we are going to advance in reconciliation, in peace, in closing the gaps of inequity and inequality,” Márquez told W Radio. The 40-year-old environmental leader announced that she will deal with these issues from a future Ministry of Equality.

The cover of the newspaper El Tiempo with the triumph of Petro.  AFP photo

The cover of the newspaper El Tiempo with the triumph of Petro. AFP photo


The local business community and the leaders of the traditional parties they saluted Petro for his victory and welcomed his ideas of seeking consensus. An example of this climate was given by the president of the National Association of Colombian Entrepreneurs (ANDI), Bruce Mac Master, who stressed that they recognize the “open and legitimate” victory of Petro.

“After such a tough campaign, so polarized and so aggressive. It will be everyone’s task, but especially the president’s as the nation’s leader, to build bridges, environments for dialogue and conversation,” assured the business leader.

In the media and political circles, names for the main portfolios began to sound yesterday. Knowing that this is one of the concerns of the establishment, Petro released the names of candidates before the ballot, with which he sought to avoid shocks in the market like those experienced by his friend, the Chilean Gabriel Boric, due to delays and rumors when he formed his cabinet.

In this sense, Petro quoted Rudolf Hommes, former Minister of Finance in the government of César Gaviria, who supported the campaign for the senator. Likewise, the name of former minister José Antonio Ocampo, former secretary of ECLAC and former adviser to Boric, was also heard.

The former rector of the Universidad de los Andes, Alejandro Gaviria and candidate for the Centro Esperanza Coalition, who later joined Petro’s campaign, is also in the rattle, as is the economist Luis Jorge Garay, former adviser and consultant of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The president-elect anticipated that a woman will be in the Ministry of Defense. Former liberal minister Cecilia López Montaño, who was in the Agriculture portfolio in the government of Ernesto Samper, could also join the cabinet.

In the new National Congress that takes office on July 20, the new government of Petro will not enjoy its own majority in neither of the two chambers, so it must seek agreements that allow it to carry out its projects and reforms.

Source: EFE, AFP and Clarin


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