Gustavo Petro creates history in Colombian presidential election
For the first time, Colombia will have a leftist president.
Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and a longtime senator who ha
pledged to transform the country’s economic system, has won Sunday’s election, according to preliminary results, setting
the third largest nation in Latin America on a radically new path.
Mr. Petro, 62, received more than 50 percent of the vote, with more
than 99 percent counted Sunday evening. His opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate who had energized the country
with a scorched-earth anti-corruption platform, just over 47 percent.
Shortly after the vote, Mr. Hernández conceded to Mr. Petro.
“Colombians, today the majority of citizens have chosen the other candidate,” he told his supporters in Bucaramanga. “As I said
during the campaign, I accept the results of this election.”
Just over 58 percent of Colombia’s 39 million voters turned out to cast a ballot, according to official figures.
Mr. Petro’s victory reflects widespread discontent in Colombia, a country of 50 million, with poverty and inequality on the rise and
widespread dissatisfaction with a lack of opportunity, issues that sent hundreds of thousands of people to demonstrate in the streets last year.
The entire country is begging for change,” said Fernando Posada, a Colombian political scientist, “and that is absolutely clear.”