Colombia elects first leftist president and first Afro-Colombian female vice president

BOGOTA/BUCARAMANGA, Colombia – Leftist Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla movement who has vowed profound social and economic change, won Colombia’s presidency on Sunday, the first progressive to do so in the country’s history .

Petro beats construction magnate Rodolfo Hernandez with an unexpectedly wide margin of around 716,890 votes. The two were technically tied in the voting before the vote.

Petro, the former mayor of the capital Bogota and current senator, has pledged to fight inequality with free university education, pension reform and high taxes on unproductive land. He won 50.5% to Hernandez’s 47.3%.

Petro’s proposals – particularly sanctions on new oil projects – have stunned some investors, although they have promised to honor existing contracts.

Supporter Alejandro Forrero, 40, who uses a wheelchair, cried as a result of a Petro campaign ceremony in Bogota.

“Ultimately, thank God. I know he’ll be a good president and he’ll help those of us who are least privileged. That’s going to change for the better,” said Foro, who is unemployed. Is.

The campaign was Petro’s third presidential bid, and his victory placed the Andean nation on a list of Latin American countries that have elected progressives in recent years.

Petro, 62, said he was tortured by the military when he was taken into custody for his involvement in the guerrillas, and high-ranking armed forces officers are ready to change his likely victory.

Petro’s running mate Francia Marquez, a single mother and former housekeeper, will be the country’s first Afro-Colombian female vice president.

“Today I am voting for my daughter – she turned 15 two weeks ago and asked for just one gift: that I vote for Petro,” said Pedro Vargas, 48, a security guard southwest of Bogota on Sunday morning. I give.”

I hope this man fulfills my daughter’s expectations, she has great faith in his promises,” said Vargas, who said he never votes.

Petro has also promised to fully implement the 2016 peace deal with the FARC rebels and to hold talks with the ELN guerrillas still active.

He had raised doubts about the integrity of the counting after irregularities in Congress counting in March, and earlier on Sunday urged voters to check their ballots for any extraneous marks that could invalidate them.

Hernandez, who served as mayor of Bucaramanga, was a surprising contender in the run-off and promised to reduce the government by curbing corruption and funding social programs.

He has also promised to provide free narcotics to drug addicts in an effort to combat drug trafficking.

Despite his anti-corruption rhetoric, Hernandez himself is under corruption investigation on charges that he interfered with a waste management tender to benefit the company his son lobbied. He has denied wrongdoing.

Defense Minister Diego Molano told reporters Sunday afternoon that an investigation was underway into the murder of an election volunteer in Guapi, Cauca province.

Sixty polling places had to be shifted due to heavy rains in some parts of the country, the registrar said.

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