Second round of presidential elections: a directional decision in Colombia

Status: 19.06.2022 03:22

With Gustav Peter, a left-wing politician could become president in Colombia for the first time. Its competitor is the political transformer Hernández: a multimillionaire without a meaningful election program, but with flowery promises.

The choice of direction divides Colombian voters right in the middle: a draw or just one percentage point – so recent surveys see the chances of two candidates for the second round of elections.

With Gustav Petr, a left-wing expartisan fighter has a chance for the highest state office for the first time. Its competitor is ideologically difficult to classify populist, multimillionaire and self-proclaimed anti-corruption fighter Rodolfo Hernández.

The challenges for the future head of state are great: The second most populous country in South America, with a population of approximately 50 million, suffers from the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, great social injustice and violence. The current Conservative government has only partially implemented the peace agreement with the FARC rebels.

Hernandez’s plans remain unclear

Petro wants to pacify the country, slow down the extraction of raw materials, promote tourism and tax companies more significantly. Little is known about Hernández’s 77-year-old plans. He wants to take action against corruption – although he himself is being investigated for corruption. He also suggested giving drugs to addicts for free.

In the first vote, Hernández surprisingly won 28 percent of the vote without the support of the established party. He almost fainted when he heard the result, admitting in one of his rare television interviews: “Because it has not yet been possible for someone like me – without any political network, without buying votes, without lying in a referendum – to do so well.” Hernández manages to step out of the establishment and present himself as a cordial candidate, he does not trust professional politicians or the state.

Petro is fighting for social reform and environmental protection

The 62-year-old economist Gustavo Petro won the first round of elections three weeks ago with about 40 percent of the vote. Petro is running for president for the third time. For 30 years he held various political positions in Colombian politics. It focuses on social reform, poverty reduction and environmental protection.

His election program is directed against the country’s traditional elite. His opponents accuse him of wanting to turn Colombia into a “socialist dictatorship like Venezuela.” Petro served in the guerrilla M-19 in the 1970s and was imprisoned for a year and a half. Petro says there has never been a lawsuit against him.

It is true that Peter’s extensive reform proposals in the first round yielded about twelve percentage points more than Hernandez received. However, many observers consider Petr’s electoral potential to be exhausted – Hernández, on the other hand, can count on the support of eliminated candidates in the second round.

With information from Kai Laufen, ARD Studio Rio de Janeiro

Colombia – Dirty election campaign before deciding direction

Kai Laufen, SWR, 6/19/2022 12:06 AM

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