Colombian Presidential Election Heads for a Runoff

Colombia will have its second round of the presidential election on June 19 after the winning presidential bet Gustavo Petro failed to meet 50 percent of the votes on Sunday.

Gustavo Petro, a leftist former guerilla fighter, will face Rodolfo Hernández, a businessman and former mayor of Bucaramanga in northeastern Colombia, during the presidential runoff.

Petro won the election’s first round, garnering 40.3 percent of the votes, with 99.9 percent of the ballots counted. Hernández got 28 percent, while right-wing candidate Federico “Fico” Gutierrez got 23 percent.

Petro had top polls in the past months, promising tax reforms and a change in the country’s drug war policies.

“We have two options either continue as we are or become part of history and lead Colombia on the path of peace, social justice and progress,” Petro said Saturday.

Hernández surged in polls before the election despite criticisms over his policy positions, including his take on anti-establishment populism.

“We have achieved a historic result, a result that has shaken the foundations of corrupt power of all past governments,” Hernández said in a Facebook post.

The candidate who will get the majority of the votes on June 19 will succeed President Iván Duque Márquez.

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