Gustavo Petro wins Colombian presidential race

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

“Let’s rejoice the primary in style victory. Might 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 mentioned he known as Petro to congratulate him on his victory and that they’d “agreed to satisfy within the coming days to provoke a harmonious, institutional and clear transition.”

Earlier than his victory on Sunday, Petro, 62, had already seen two failed presidential bids in 2010 and 2018, however in the end failed to realize the assist of the nation’s majority who nonetheless noticed him a radical left-wing outsider — no small feat for a politician trying to win the hearts of an citizens in considered one of South America’s most conservative international locations.

For his third marketing campaign, Petro promised to alter the established order, as did his runoff rival, Hernández. Each candidates sought to reap the benefits of what number of Colombians are fed up with right-wing President Iván Duque — a pacesetter whose tenure has been outlined by his administration’s dealing with of police conduct, inequality, and clashes between organized felony teams.

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

The assist Petro has garnered might be partially attributed to Colombia’s worsening socioeconomic scenario, together with deteriorating residing situations, made worse by the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the influence of the struggle in Ukraine.

Whereas Colombia has seen spectacular financial development lately, inequality charges stay among the many world’s highest, with almost half of Colombians saying that the economic system is headed within the fallacious path, based on a latest 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 folks from that demographic to his camp.

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 Motion (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 Seventies underneath 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 folks 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 Courtroom constructing that left at the very least 98 folks killed, together with 12 magistrates (11 are nonetheless lacking). Petro denies he was concerned within the assault, which befell 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 point Petro was launched in 1987, after 18 months in army jail, his ideological perspective had modified. He mentioned that point helped him notice that an armed revolution was not the perfect technique to win in style assist.

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 gasoline explorations and renegotiation of worldwide commerce agreements — is “too radical” for Colombia. He has since surrounded himself with extra conventional politicians who might construct bridges with the institution.

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

In April, he signed a pledge to not expropriate any personal land if elected. He is additionally tipped a reasonable to be his financial minister, and has sought to make worldwide ties with new progressives, comparable to the US’ Congressional Progressive Caucus, relatively 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 mentioned he’s too mental and indifferent — if not outright pedantic, with even his personal marketing campaign staff referring to him as “the Petroxplainer,” given his tendency to lecture.

To counter this, he is been campaigning in a number of 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 developed politician, telling CNN that he is managed to efficiently mix his revolutionary zeal with follow public administration.

Subsequent, 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 mentioned.

Reporting contributed by CNN’s Michelle Velez.


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