Gustavo Petro, a former rebel on the left, wins the presidency of Colombia in a close, historic election.
Petro is going to beat a millionaire tycoon and become the country's first leftist president.
Gustavo Petro, a former rebel, barely beat out a political outsider millionaire in a runoff election on Sunday. He is now Colombia's first leftist president, which is a big change for the country's politics.
When almost all of the votes were counted, a senator named Petro had 50.47 percent of the votes, while a real estate mogul named Rodolfo Hernandez had 47.27 percent, according to results released by election officials. This was Petro's third try to become president.
Petro's win showed that presidential politics in a country that had long ignored the left because it was thought to be linked to the war had changed in a big way.
"Today is a day for the people to have a party. Let them celebrate the first victory won by the people "Petro sent a tweet. "May the joy that fills the heart of the Homeland today ease the pain of so many."
Petro used to be a rebel with the now-defunct M-19 movement. He was jailed for his involvement with the group, but then he was given a chance to start over.
At his office in Bogota, the capital city, a screen said "Gracias Colombia," which means "Thank you Colombia."
Shortly after the results were announced, conservative President Ivan Duque congratulated Petro, and Hernandez quickly admitted he had lost.
In a video posted on social media, Hernandez said, "I accept the result, which is how it should be if we want our institutions to be strong." "I really hope that everyone will benefit from this decision."
"People are sick of it."
People were unhappy about rising inequality, inflation, and violence, which led them to vote against the centrist and right-leaning politicians who had been in power for a long time and choose two outsiders in Latin America's third-most populous country.
Petro's win was the latest political victory for the left in Latin America, which was made possible by people's desire for change. Chile, Peru, and Honduras all chose leftist presidents in 2021, and in Brazil, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is leading the polls for this year's election.
Sunday, about 21.6 million of the 39 million people who could vote did so. Since 1990, the number of people who didn't vote in a presidential election has been over 40% in every election.
After a formal count that will take a few days, Petro, 62, will be called the winner. In the past, the preliminary results and the final ones have been the same.
Before the runoff, polls showed that Petro and Hernandez, who are both former mayors, were in a close race. This was because they beat out four other candidates in the first election on May 29, but neither of them got enough votes to win outright, so they had to go to a runoff.
Petro wants to make big changes to how Colombia fights drug cartels and other armed groups and how pensions, taxes, health care, and farming are run.
During the election last month, he got 40% of the votes and Hernandez got 28%. However, the gap between them quickly shrunk as Hernandez began to win over so-called "anti-Petrista" voters.
Petro won't be able to keep his promises because he doesn't have a majority in Congress, which is important for making changes. In the most recent legislative elections, Petro's political movement won 20 seats in the Senate, which is a majority. However, he would still have to make compromises with other parties in order to get things done.
Hernandez made his money in real estate. He is not a member of any major political party and has turned down offers to work together. His tough campaign was mostly run on TikTok and other social media sites. He paid for it himself and focused on fighting corruption, which he says causes poverty and wastes state money that could be used for social programs.
Hernandez passed more traditional candidates late in the first round of voting and surprised many when he came in second. He has gotten into trouble for things like saying he liked Adolf Hitler and then saying he meant to say Albert Einstein.
Polls show that most Colombians think their country is going in the wrong direction and don't like Duque, who couldn't run for reelection anyway. At least a decade was lost in the country's fight against poverty because of the pandemic. Last year, official numbers show that 39% of Colombians lived on less than $89 US per month.
Nataly Amezquita, a 26-year-old civil engineer who was waiting to vote, said that the rejection of politics as usual shows that people are tired of the same people always being in charge. "We need to make more changes in society. A lot of people in the country aren't in great shape."
But she didn't like either of the two outsider candidates. She said she would vote "nothing": "Neither of the two candidates is appealing to me.... I don't think either of them is a good person."
Silvia Otero Bahamon, a political science professor at the University of Rosario, said that even though both candidates are populists who "have an ideology based on the divide between the corrupt elite and the people," they see their fight against the establishment in different ways.
"Otero said that Petro's supporters are the poor and the ethnic and cultural minorities in the most remote parts of the country, while Hernandez's supporters are the people who have been hurt by politics and corruption. It is a less tight-knit group that the candidate can reach directly through social media."
Many voters made their choice based on what they did not want, not what they did.
Silvana Amaya, a senior analyst at the company Control Risks, said that many people said, "I don't care who is running against Petro. I'm going to vote for the other candidate, no matter who they are." "That also works in the opposite direction. Some people say, "I don't care who I have to vote for, but I don't want him to be my president." This is because Rodolfo has been portrayed as a crazy old man, a genius at communication, and an extravagant person "'