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Colombia prefers the left and populism while punishing the right

Gustavo Petro celebrates his victory in the Colombian presidential elections. / AFP

Petro, the candidate of the change and winner of the first round, will compete for power with the unexpected candidate Hernández

Gustavo Petro, 62, will have to wait three more weeks to find out if he can become the first leftist politician to be elected president of Colombia. He won’t have it easy. For now, he will have to settle for being the first leftist to defeat all the right-wing forces in the country in the first round of the presidential elections. The title of this Colombian political series, which will live its second and last chapter on June 19, could be ‘Todos contra Petro’.

The script for the presidential elections in Colombia explains that Petro, with 40% of the votes, defeated all his opponents but needs a second leg to achieve his total victory. 8.5 million Colombians validated the proposals for progress, transformation and change in a country dominated by the right for most of its history.

But he did not take his opponents to the canvas. 40% of the votes were not enough for the leader of the Historical Pact coalition to win the Presidency at first. Petro will have to dispute it against Rodolfo Hernández, the surprise candidate who obtained 28% of the votes (5.9 million). Between the two, they swept 68.51% in an electoral event that registered a historic level of participation and in which abstention was the lowest in two decades (it stood at 45.09%).

Colombia voted and did so with a head. She leaned to the left… And also to populism. She supported the ideas of changing the country for a better life, peaceful, in peace, without corruption and without violence. Colombia cast its vote and said that it did not want more of the right, that it rejected all continuationist thoughts. He seemed to say no to more uribism, a term used to define the supporters of Álvaro Uribe, the former president who has governed from the shadows in recent years.

The millionaire engineer who

Colombia voted for all that, but deep down it knows that the Uribista power has all the arms of an octopus and more lives than a cat. Federico ‘Fico’ Gutiérrez, the great candidate of the political machines that have dominated the country, clientelism and the man who was destined to dispute the Presidency with Petro in a second round –represented the Team for Colombia made up of three other top aldermen of the main cities of the country–, was surpassed by Rodolfo Hernández. «We must cleanse once and for all the national government of the thieves who end up betraying the interests of Colombians. Politicians have been drones », he assured as soon as he learned of his good results.

That clarity is what has catapulted Hernández, the oldest of all the candidates (77 years old). He suddenly burst in with a populist profile in which he highlighted his fight against political corruption despite being investigated for the same cause.

But that part of Colombia that wants change and has rejected the ‘establishment’ for the first time knows that Uribe is not giving up. As soon as the results of the elections were known, ‘Fico’ Gutiérrez announced his adhesion to Rodolfo Hernández. The so-called change of jacket was immediate. Now it will be time to wait for the project of the “old man from Tik-Tok”, as Hernández has been known for his participation in this application. In the campaign, in which he attended few debates and held few demonstrations, he said he would support Petro if he was not elected.

a good future

The first round of these important elections for Colombia reflects the repudiation of the right by more than 70% of the electorate, and that the leftist, progressive forces with alternative options enjoy a good future.

The next few days will be crucial. The right will turn on the populist candidate, who will no longer only be able to sell the anti-corruption option by being allied with Uribismo. Colombia enters into a vote-to-vote struggle. Several analysts believe that Petro has to add almost three million more voters if Hernández’s alliance with Gutiérrez is carried out. He only believes that with a million more he wins the Presidency.

“We want a change that builds peace, that ends the violence, that those days of insecurity, of fear, sometimes of terror, pass. We want social justice, that the old man and the old woman have a pension and that all the boys and girls of Colombia have food, “said Petro in his speech after knowing the result of the elections.

“I ask Colombia not to continue as we are. That we do not sink further into violence, in corruption, that we do not jump to suicide; that it is the time of life, that change is for life. Because what we are looking for is a Colombia world power of life », she added.

The May 29 elections have made it clear that Colombia wants change. Petro will have to sharpen his ingenuity to draw the attention of the voters of the Esperanza Center, led by the mathematician Sergio Fajardo and who has once again suffered a resounding defeat, or those who have abstained. The match in which Colombia plays it has not finished.

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