Leftist is frontrunner after Colombia presidential primaries

Colombians have voted for a new congress and also cast ballots in presidential primaries to choose party candidates for the May presidential contest

Via AP news wire
Monday 14 March 2022 01:18

Colombians voted for a new congress Sunday and also cast ballots in presidential primaries to choose party candidates for the May presidential contest, as the country held its first elections since the coronavirus pandemic began two years ago.

As opinion polls had indicated, leftist Sen. Gustavo Petro emerged as the current leader in the race for the presidency. With just over 90% of all votes counted, he won the primary for the Historical Pact, a coalition of left-wing parties, with 80% of the more than 4.6 million votes cast in its primary.

Team Colombia, a coalition of conservative groups, drew 3 million voters to its primary, which was won by Federico Gutierrez, a former mayor of Medellin who has criticized some aspects of the 2016 peace deal with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

A group of centrist parties known as the Hope Coalition got close to 2 million voters in its primary, which was won by mathematician Sergio Fajardo, who also ran in the 2018 presidential election.

The three will compete in Colombia's presidential election May 29 along with several other candidates picked previously by smaller parties. If no one gets 50% of the votes, a runoff ballot would be held in June between the top two finishers.

“It looks like candidates in the center were the big losers in this election," said Sergio Guzman, a political risk analyst in Bogota. “They showed divisions during the campaign and were not effective at getting voters to the polls.”

Petro got 4 million votes in Sunday's primary, doubling the number of votes received by all five candidates in the center's primary.

The senator, who belonged to a rebel group in the 1980s, has sought to capitalize on growing frustration with Colombia's conservative government, which has overseen an increase in poverty during the pandemic and last year faced big protests over a tax increase plan, police violence and inequality.

Petro has promised to increase taxes on corporations and large landowners, and has suggested that if he becomes president the government will buy up some land to distribute to landless peasants. He has also said he would suspend oil exploration projects and have the government take a greater role in the economy.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in