once a member of a leftist guerrilla group that fought the Colombian state, was on Sunday elected president after pledging to battle inequality and poverty and insert the state squarely into the economy of a country that is Washington’s closest ally in Latin America.
A 62-year-old senator who in the 1970s and ’80s was in the M-19 rebel group, Mr. Petro is the first leftist elected president in Colombia, a milestone in a country that recently emerged from a long guerrilla conflict. Francia Márquez, a 40-year-old human-rights activist, will become vice president, the first Afro-Colombian and the second woman to hold that post.
With nearly all voting stations reporting, Mr. Petro won more than 11.2 million votes, or 50.4% of the total. Rodolfo Hernández, a 77-year-old provincial real-estate mogul who didn’t hold rallies or give speeches, received more than 10.5 million votes, or 47.2%.
—Jenny Carolina Gonzalez contributed to this article.
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