Bogota, May 29 (EFE).- Leftist candidate Gustavo Petro and populist Rodolfo Hernandez received the most votes in the first round of Colombia’s presidential election on Sunday and will face off in a runoff on June 19, according to figures released by national election authorities with 99.16 percent of the votes counted.
Petro, the candidate of Pacto Historico, currently has 8,479,095 votes – or 40.31 percent – followed by Hernandez, the former mayor of Bucaramanga and the surprise of the day, with 5,931,722 votes, 28.20 percent.
Hernandez, read an emotional statement upon clinching making it to runoff, saying that it was the “firm will of the citizensy” that assured him the No. 2 spot, adding that he was certain he would win the runoff to “solidify the change that began today.”
The man who governed Bucaramanga from 2016-2019 said that he would win the presidency in “a country that does not want to continue for a single day more with the same people who have brought it to its sorrowful situation.”
In third place, and suffering the big defeat of election day, is former Medellin Mayor Federico “Fico” Gutierrez, with the rightist Equipo por Colombia coalition and whom voter surveys had said would come in second, although he was handily surpassed by Hernandez.
Gutierrez has 5,021,229 votes, 23.87 percent, and following him is another Medellin ex-mayor, Sergio Fajardo, with the Centro Esperanza coalition, with 884,231 votes (4.20 percent).
Petro’s plurality had been expected in all the voter surveys in the runup to election day, but his hope to secure an outright first-round win did not come to fruition.
The latest surveys also had put the 77-year-old Hernandez, with the Anticorruption Governors League party, in third place but an election day surge enabled him to move to the runoff.