A June runoff in Colombia’s election
Two anti-establishment candidates, Gustavo Petro, a leftist, and Rodolfo Hernández, a right-wing populist, captured the top two spots in Colombia’s presidential election yesterday, delivering a stunning blow to the dominant conservative political class. The two will compete in a runoff election on June 19.
The election is shaping up to be one of the most consequential in the country’s history. At stake: the country’s economic model, democratic integrity and the livelihoods of millions of people who have been pushed into poverty. Colombia has long been the strongest U.S. ally in the region: Petro has called for a reset of the bilateral relationship, including a re-examination of a trade agreement.
A win for Petro would mark a watershed moment for one of the most politically conservative societies in Latin America. His rise reflects not just a leftist shift across Latin America, but also an anti-incumbent fervor that has gained strength as the pandemic has deepened poverty and inequality.
By the numbers: With more than 99 percent of the ballots counted on Sunday evening, Petro received more than 40 percent of the vote. Hernández received over 28 percent, an unexpected second-place victory ahead of the conservative establishment candidate, Federico Gutiérrez, who had been polling in second place.