Petro receives Colombia presidential credentials, declares ‘era of change’

Bogotá, Jun 23 (EFE).- The National Electoral Council (NEC) of Colombia on Thursday presented credentials to vice-president-elect Francia Márquez and president-elect Gustavo Petro, who declared the beginning of an “era of change.”

The NEC officials and the national registrar, Alexander Vega, led the formal ceremony in which the election of the president and vice president for the period 2022-2026 was declared.

Vega said 21,897,414 Colombians voted in last weekend’s runoff of the presidential election and that Petro won with 11,292,758 votes (50.44 percent).

“We have people who have just pronounced their verdict, and today before the people we endorse the popular will,” NEC president César Abreo said.

Márquez first received her credentials as vice president of Colombia from Judge Doris Ruth Méndez Cubillos, the only woman on the NEC, who considered it an “immense honor” to deliver the document “to the first Afro-descendant woman to occupy the position.”

Márquez said: “We deserve to live pleasantly, to live with dignity, with rights, with social justice and we deserve to live taking care of our community” at a “moment that for Black people is an act of racial justice and that for women is a moment of gender justice.”

“Let’s honor the memory of all the young people and leaders who are no longer here but who fell for this moment,” she said.

Magistrate Luis Guillermo Pérez then presented credentials Petro, quoting the university student Lucas Villa, who was murdered in the city of Pereira during the 2021 protests: “I hope the spirit is with us so that we can survive to create a new world.”

Petro insisted on the idea of a “great national agreement” for which he reported that he had “symbolically” invited his rival at the polls, Rodolfo Hernández, and former president Álvaro Uribe, of whom he has been the main opponent, to speak “on issues of the country.”

“What we really want is for millions of Colombians to turn to dialogue, to be binding, not only to talk, but to make decisions (…) to reach agreements,” and to “build the paths of transformation – not to continue as we are.”

“The era of change begins in Colombia,” concluded the president-elect, who will take office on Aug. 7 to replace the current president, Iván Duque. EFE


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