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Colombia Election Live Results: Petro Elected the First Leftist President

Credit…Federico Rios for The New York Times

For the first time, Colombia can have a leftist president.

Gustavo Petro, a former insurgent and a longtime senator who has pledged to remodel the nation’s financial system, has received Sunday’s election, in response to preliminary outcomes, setting the third largest nation in Latin America on a radically new path.

Mr. Petro, 62, acquired greater than 50 % of the vote, with greater than 99 % counted Sunday night. His opponent, Rodolfo Hernández, a development magnate who had energized the nation with a scorched-earth anti-corruption platform, simply over 47 %.

Shortly after the vote, Mr. Hernández conceded to Mr. Petro.

“Colombians, today the majority of citizens have chosen the other candidate,” he informed his supporters in Bucaramanga. “As I said during the campaign, I accept the results of this election.”

Just over 58 % of Colombia’s 39 million voters turned out to cast a poll, in response to official figures.

Mr. Petro’s victory displays widespread discontent in Colombia, a rustic of fifty million, with poverty and inequality on the rise and widespread dissatisfaction with a scarcity of alternative, points that despatched a whole lot of 1000’s of individuals to show in the streets final year.

“The entire country is begging for change,” stated Fernando Posada, a Colombian political scientist, “and that is absolutely clear.”

The win is all the extra important due to the nation’s historical past. For many years, the authorities fought a brutal leftist insurgency often called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, with the stigma from the battle making it troublesome for a respectable left to flourish.

But the FARC signed a peace cope with the authorities in 2016, laying down their arms and opening space for a broader political discourse.

Mr. Petro had been a part of a distinct insurgent group, known as the M-19, which demobilized in 1990, and have become a political occasion that helped rewrite the nation’s structure.

Both Mr. Petro and Mr. Hernández beat Federico Gutiérrez, a former huge metropolis mayor backed by the conservative elite, in a primary spherical of voting on May 29, sending them to a runoff.

Both males had billed themselves as anti-establishment candidates, saying they have been working towards a political class that had managed the nation for generations.

Among the components that the majority distinguished them was how they seen the root of the nation’s issues.

Mr. Petro believes the financial system is damaged, overly reliant on oil export and a flourishing and unlawful cocaine business that he stated has made the wealthy richer and poor poorer. He is looking for a halt to all new oil exploration, a shift to creating different industries, and an growth of social applications, whereas imposing increased taxes on the wealthy.

“What we have today is the result of what I call ‘the depletion of the model,’” Mr. Petro stated in an interview, referring to the present financial system. “The end result is a brutal poverty.”

His bold financial plan has, nonetheless, raised considerations. One former finance minister called his power plan “economic suicide.”

Mr. Petro will take office in August, and can face urgent points with world repercussions: Lack of alternative and rising violence, which have prompted document numbers of Colombians emigrate to the United States in current months; excessive ranges of deforestation in the Colombian Amazon, a crucial buffer towards local weather change; and rising threats to democracy, a part of a pattern round the area.

He will face a deeply polarized society the place polls present rising mistrust in virtually all main establishments.

Mr. Petro might additionally reshape Colombia’s relationship with the United States.

For many years, Colombia has been Washington’s strongest ally in Latin America, forming the cornerstone of its safety coverage in the area. During his marketing campaign, Mr. Petro promised to reassess that relationship, together with essential collaborations on medication, Venezuela and commerce.

In the interview, Mr. Petro stated his relationship with the United States would deal with working collectively to deal with local weather change, particularly halting the speedy erosion of the Amazon.

“There is a point of dialogue there,” he stated. “Because saving the Amazon rainforest involves some instruments, some programs, that do not exist today, at least not with respect to the United States.”

Megan Janetsky contributed reporting from Bucaramanga, Colombia, and Sofía Villamil and Genevieve Glatsky contributed reporting from Bogotá.

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