Colombia elects former guerrilla Petro as first leftist president

BOGOTA/BUCARAMANGA, June 19 (Reuters) – Leftist Gustavo Petro, a previous member of the M-19 guerrilla movement, who has vowed profound social and economic transform, received Colombia’s presidency on Sunday, the initial progressive to do so in the country’s heritage.

Petro defeat development magnate Rodolfo Hernandez with an unexpectedly huge margin of a lot more than 700,000 votes in what analysts said was a demonstration of Colombians’ eagerness for endeavours to battle deep inequality.

Petro, a former mayor of money Bogota and latest senator, has pledged to combat inequality with no cost college schooling, pension reforms and superior taxes on unproductive land. He gained 50.5% to Hernandez’s 47.3%.

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Petro’s proposals – particularly a ban on new oil initiatives – have startled some buyers, nevertheless he has promised to respect latest contracts. browse much more

His victory was probable to result in industry jitters until finally his cabinet is announced, analysts told Reuters on Sunday.

“From these days Colombia alterations Colombia is diverse,” Petro informed cheering supporters in Bogota’s live performance arena. “Change is composed specifically in leaving behind sectarianism.”

“It is not a time for detest, this federal government, which will commence on Aug. 7, is a authorities of everyday living,” he explained.

Alejandro Forero, 40, who makes use of a wheelchair, cried as effects arrived in.

“Finally, thank God. I know he will be a great president and he will aid those people of us who are minimum privileged. This is likely to adjust for the better,” stated Forero, who is unemployed.

Countless numbers of people took to the streets in Bogota to rejoice, with some dancing around its greatest polling spot below intermittent rain.

This campaign was Petro’s 3rd presidential bid and his victory adds the Andean nation to a checklist of Latin American nations around the world that have elected progressives in latest many years.

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Petro’s victory confirmed people in Colombia – where virtually 50 percent the populace life in some variety of poverty – are keen to fight inequality, stated Daniela Cuellar of FTI Consulting.

“What the Colombian population demonstrated right now is that they are trying to find a government focused on vital social difficulties,” she said. “Colombia’s longstanding illnesses of inequality, which had been exacerbated by COVID-19, have contributed to the voters searching for a shift.”

But a fragmented congress, where a dozen functions have seats, will act as a look at on Petro’s proposals.

“Colombia’s institutional strength and rule of law appear sufficiently sturdy for the nation to retain financial stability,” Cuellar reported. “Additionally, campaigning is not governing, Petro’s insurance policies will be a lot more average.”

“Even if he tries to pass radical reforms, he does not have the congressional support to apply them,” she included.

Petro, 62, explained he was tortured by the armed forces when he was detained for his involvement with the guerrillas, and his likely victory experienced superior-ranking armed forces officials bracing for transform. browse additional

Petro’s functioning mate, Francia Marquez, a single mom and previous housekeeper, will be the country’s to start with Afro-Colombian girl vice-president. read far more

“Currently I am voting for my daughter – she turned 15 two weeks in the past and asked for just a single present: that I vote for Petro,” stated protection guard Pedro Vargas, 48, in Bogota’s southwest on Sunday morning.

“I hope this person fulfills the hopes of my daughter, she has a good deal of faith in his claims,” additional Vargas, who explained he generally does not vote.

Petro has also pledged to entirely carry out a 2016 peace deal with FARC rebels and find talks with the still-active ELN guerrillas.


Analysts have said the proposed halt to oil improvement could mail financial commitment elsewhere at a time when Colombia is battling with very low credit rating scores, a substantial trade deficit and national financial debt which has doubled to 72% of GDP about the final decade.

Oil accounts for virtually half of exports and shut to 10% of countrywide earnings, but Petro argues new jobs should be barred for environmental explanations and to shift Colombia away from dependence on the sector.

Petro has also promised to maximize taxes and royalties on extractive industries and cost big landholders for unproductive land, boosting some $5.2 billion. He also proposes to increase up to $3.9 billion by progressively taxing businesses.

“We feel on Tuesday both fascination costs on TES bonds and the trade level will depreciate, but we require to see what form of rhetoric Petro provides us, what type of cupboard he’ll give us,” mentioned Sergio Olarte, head economist for Colombia at Scotiabank.

Monday is a vacation in Colombia.

“The magnitude of actions in the coming trading classes will depend on the financial line that the new president features,” agreed David Cubides, head economist at Allianz brokerage, who said he expects local sector volatility for the duration of the future 7 days.

Present President Ivan Duque tweeted he experienced named to congratulate Petro, and they have scheduled a assembly in coming days to guarantee a harmonious changeover.

Colombian presidents are limited to a single phrase.

Some 22.6 million individuals voted, about 1.2 million far more than in the 1st round. Some 2.3% of voters turned in protest votes, backing neither candidate.

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Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra, Oliver Griffin, Carlos Vargas, Luis Jaime Acosta and Julia Symmes Cobb
Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb
Modifying by Grant McCool, Chizu Nomiyama, Lisa Shumaker and Nick Zieminski

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