Whoever wins the presidency of Colombia will face the growing social protest and a divided Congress That will complicate his efforts to carry out the economic and social reforms that the country needs, analysts and politicians said.
Colombians will go to the polls this May 29 to elect the successor of President Iván Duque, who ends his term in August, in a context of high polarization and inequality worsened by sharp increases in prices, despite the expansion of the fourth largest economy in Latin America.
In Colombia, the presidential candidate who obtains half plus one of the votes.
in the polls leftist candidate Gustavo Petro remains the most advantageous to win the election, beating center-right Federico ‘Fico’ Gutiérrez by about 10 points, although none would get enough votes to win in the first round, which would lead to a ballot on June 19.
Petro will face six other candidates on Sunday, among which the center-right Federico Gutiérrez, the independent Rodolfo Hernandez and the centrist Serge Fajardo, to define who will be the replacement of President Iván Duque.
Petro seeks the presidency of Colombia for the third time
He woke up to political life when he saw his father cry over the death of the Argentine ‘Che’ Guevara and was a member of the M-19 guerrilla group, but now Gustavo Petro seeks to make the biggest leap in his career: seduce millions of voters to become the first leftist president in Colombia.
The 62-year-old former mayor and senator turned its humble beginnings and revolutionary past into a movement that has attracted the young and poor with its talk of change.
The Historical Pact candidate is the favorite in all the polls and the strong possibility that he will win worries many, in a traditionally conservative country and historically governed by right-wing or center-right leaders.
His plans to change the economic model raising taxes on owners of large tracts of unproductive land and moving away from economic dependence on oil and coal to make way for clean energy, scares investors and businessmen.
Although he never fought, he is haunted by his years of militancy in the disappeared guerrilla group M-19, which in 1985 assaulted the Palace of Justice in the center of Bogotáin an attack that left almost a hundred dead.
The violent past of the rebel group has become a ghost that he carries on his back and is used by his opponents to attack him.
It was arrested in 1985 by the army in possession of weapons and was in jail for 18 months, during which he claims he was tortured by the military.
‘Fico’ Gutiérrez, the politician who seeks to prevent the arrival of the left
With a unity speech and under the motto “’Fico’, the president of the people”, The former mayor of Medellín Federico Gutiérrez, a center-right politician, seeks to become the next president of Colombia and avoid the arrival of the left to the presidency, which he accuses of wanting to plunge the country into chaos.
The civil engineer, 47 years old, governed between 2016 and 2019 the second most populous city in Colombiaa major industrial center in the South American country, after he won the mayoralty without the support of a traditional political party.
Gutiérrez, whom his followers call ‘Fico’, will face six other candidates on Sunday, among which the leftist Gustavo Petro, the independent Rodolfo Hernández and the centrist candidate Sergio Fajardo stand out, to define the replacement of President Iván Duque .
The candidate of the Team for Colombia coalition has the support from traditional parties such as the Conservative and Liberalwho are concerned about an eventual triumph of the left in a country historically governed by right-wing or center-right leaders.
The candidate assures that he is neither from the right nor from the left and that his only purpose is to serve the country to turn it into a place with opportunities for all, warning that choosing the left would be “jump into the void without a parachute”
Gutiérrez and his followers regard Petro as a potential threat to democracywhich is why his left-wing rival accuses him of representing the continuity of the current government and of having the covert support of former President Álvaro Uribe, cataloged by some as the most powerful man in Colombian politics.
Hernández goes with an anti-corruption speech
Rodolfo Hernandeza septuagenarian engineer from humble beginnings who amassed a fortune in the construction industry and who gained popularity for his appearances on the TikToK network, aspires to become the surprise of the Colombian presidential election with his anti-corruption speech.
The 77-year-old independent politician, alien to the establishment and the traditional parties, is seeking the presidency after a surprising rebound in the polls that place him third, close to the center-right candidate Federico Gutiérrez, who appears second.
The polls even place him with the possibility of defeating the leftist Gustavo Petro if he goes to a second round.
“I am going to give you the key to get out of poverty: it is to kick out these thieving politicians who are the ones who keep us mired in poverty,” he said at a recent campaign event in which he proposed governing with austerity, ending luxuries and perks to ministers and congressmen.
Despite his promises to attack corruption, Hernández – who was mayor of the city of Bucaramanga between 2016 and 2019– faces accusations and an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office for allegedly intervening from his position in the award of a contract for the treatment of alternative technology in waste management.
Although the contract was not signed, according to witnesses, it sought to benefit a company and Luis Carlos Hernández, one of the candidate’s sons, who would have lobbied in favor of the company and would receive a millionaire commission.
With information from Reuters