El presidente electo colombiano, Gustavo Petro, en una imagen de archivo.

Former guerrilla Gustavo Petro wins the presidential elections in Colombia

Former Colombian guerrilla Gustavo Petro, who was also the mayor of Bogotá, became the first left-wing president of Colombia.

Petro received more than 50% of the votes this Sunday in the second electoral round, with more than 99% of the votes counted. His opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate who had energized the country with a deeply populist, scorched-earth anti-corruption platform, got just 47%.

Petro, a former rebel and long-time senator who vowed to transform the country’s economic system, won the election to set Latin America’s third-largest nation on a radical new path and cement a leftward shift on the continent.

“Today is a holiday for the people. Let him celebrate the first popular victory. May so many sufferings be cushioned in the joy that today floods the heart of the Homeland. This victory for God and for the People and their history. Today is the day of the streets and squares,” Petro wrote on his twitter account.

Shortly after the vote, Hernández conceded defeat.

“Colombians, today the majority of citizens have opted for the other candidate,” he told his supporters in Bucaramanga. “As I said during the campaign, I accept the results of this election,” he added.

A little more than 58% of the 39 million voters turned out to vote, according to official figures.

Petro’s victory reflects widespread discontent in Colombia, a country of 50 million people, with increasing poverty and inequality and widespread dissatisfaction with the lack of opportunities, issues that led hundreds of thousands of people to demonstrate in the streets last year. past.

“The whole country is begging for a change,” Fernando Posada, a Colombian political scientist, told the local press, “and that is absolutely clear.”

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