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Gustavo Petro Won Runoff Election To Become Colombia’s Next President

Former guerrilla soldier Gustavo Petro, who promised significant social and economic reform, has been elected president of Colombia.

Petro would become Colombia’s first left-leaning president if she wins the presidential runoff election on Sunday. He received 50.4 percent of the vote, while his challenger Rodolfo Hernandez, a construction billionaire, had 47.3 percent.

“As of today, Colombia is changing, a real transformation that directs us to one of our objectives: the government of love … of understanding and dialogue,” an ecstatic Petro told his fans in the Colombian capital, Bogota.

Petro, 62, said in his victory address that all members of the opposition would be invited to the presidential palace “to discuss the challenges of Colombia” and extended an olive branch to some of his sharpest detractors.

“There will never be political persecution or legal persecution from this administration that is starting, there will only be regard and dialogue,” he declared, adding that he will pay heed to “that silent majority of peasant farmers, Indigenous people, women, and youth” as well as to “those who have raised arms.”

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Shortly after the results were released, outgoing conservative President Ivan Duque congratulated Petro, while Hernandez immediately acknowledged defeat. Hernandez stated in a social media video, “I accept the conclusion, as it should be if we want our institutions to be robust. “I genuinely hope that this choice is helpful for everyone.”

Change for the better

Alejandro Forero, a 40-year-old fan, sobbed when the results came in at the Petro campaign party in Bogota.

“Thank God, at last. I am confident that he will serve as a decent president and assist those of us who are less fortunate. Forero, who is unemployed, told the news agency Reuters that things will improve.

This campaign was Petro’s third presidential campaign, and his triumph adds the Andean nation to a number of Latin American countries that have elected leftists in recent times. Petro has committed to addressing inequality via free university education, pension reforms, and substantial taxes on wasted land. He has also committed to fully implementing a 2016 peace pact with FARC insurgents and pursuing negotiations with the still-active ELN rebels.

Francia Marquez, a single mother, and the longtime housekeeper will serve as the nation’s first Afro-Colombian female vice president, marking yet another historic accomplishment.

This election was Petro’s third presidential campaign, and his triumph adds the Andean nation to a number of Latin American countries that have elected leftists in recent times. Petro has committed to addressing inequality via free university education, pension reforms, and substantial taxes on wasted land. He has also committed to fully implementing a 2016 peace pact with FARC insurgents and pursuing negotiations with the still-active ELN rebels.

Francia Marquez, a single mother, and the longtime housekeeper will serve as the nation’s first Afro-Colombian female vice president, marking yet another historic accomplishment.

Advocates of Petro claim that now is the moment for Colombia to undergo significant reforms that will enhance the lives of its citizens and end the long-running civil war. “Conflict still affects many parts of the country despite a peace agreement being signed with the FARC, a left-wing rebel movement,” she said.

“And in his talk, Petro said this was is going to be an administration of peace, and that in this country peace implies social justice, environmental justice. He has been advocating for ending fracking and reconsidering the usage of oil and gas, and he has promised not to use his position to “destroy opponents.” We’ll have to wait and watch how successfully he brings these things about,” she continued.

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According to Daniela Cuellar of FTI Consulting, Petro’s success demonstrated Colombians’ desire to combat inequality in a country where roughly half the population experiences some type of poverty.

She told Reuters: “What the Colombian people showed today is that they are looking for a government focused on important social concerns. The electorate is looking for a change in response to Colombia’s long-standing problems with inequality, which were made worse by COVID-19. However, Petro’s plans will be hindered by a divided legislature where a dozen parties hold seats.

Cuellar stated that the country of Colombia “appears sufficiently resilient for the country to maintain economic stability” in terms of institutional strength and rule of law. The policies of Petro will be more balanced since campaigning is not governing.

Even if he attempts to enact drastic reforms, she continued, “he does not have the congressional support to do it.”

Other observers highlighted alarm over the likelihood of a political impasse.

According to Sergio Guzman, president of the Colombia Risk Analysis consultancy, “this result does not give a new president a clear mandate to implement his policy without at least attempting to address fears from his equivalents.” He continued, “We can anticipate four years of deadlock and brinksmanship until Petro discovers how to manage with the other half of the country.”

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