Gustavo Petro, a former mayor of the capital city, Bogotá, as well as an ex-militant, won the Colombian presidential elections, taking more than 50 percent of the vote on Sunday.
His opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate who had energized the country with a scorched-earth, anti-corruption platform, received 47 percent, with 99 percent of the votes counted.
Petro had secured a twelve-percentage-point lead in the first round of elections over his nearest rival but had not gained the 50 percent needed to win outright.
A few minutes after being elected, Gustavo Petro spoke out to celebrate what he called the “town party.”
Hoy es dia de fiesta para el pueblo. Que festeje la primera victoria popular. Que tantos sufrimientos se amortiguen en la alegria que hoy inunda el corazon de la Patria.
Esta victoria para Dios y para el Pueblo y su historia. Hoy es el dia de las calles y las plazas.
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) June 19, 2022
“Today is a holiday for the people. May the first popular victory be celebrated. 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,” wrote the new head of state.
On the other hand, Rodolfo Hernandez offered his support to the president-elect of Colombia and noted that he will always be supporting changes in the country.
Hernández announced on his official Twitter account that he called the leftist leader to congratulate him and offer him his help on this new path that the country is beginning.
Llamé a Gustavo para felicitarlo por el triunfo y ofrecerle mi apoyo para cumplir con las promesas de cambio por las que Colombia votó hoy. Colombia siempre va a contar conmigo.
— Ing Rodolfo Hernandez 🇨🇴! (@ingrodolfohdez) June 19, 2022
“I called Gustavo to congratulate him on his victory and offer him my support to fulfill the promises of change for which Colombia voted today. Colombia will always count on me”, wrote the former presidential candidate.
Gustavo Petro: The first left president of Colombia
Petro, 62, is the first left-wing president-elect in Colombia’s history. He has promised to fix the country’s deep inequalities and switch its reliance on fossil fuels to clean technology.
The new president will have to grapple with discontent over increasing inequality and inflation, as well as the legacy of the bloody war between leftist guerrillas and the state which a 2016 peace agreement was meant to end.