Thousands join final campaign rally for Colombia’s leftist opposition

Bogota, Mar 4 (EFE).- Thousands of Colombians on Friday gathered in Bogota for the final campaign event for the left-wing opposition alliance Pacto Historico (Historic Pact) ahead of the upcoming legislative elections, led by potential presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, who has been top of the polls.

As some the major rock and rap artists of the country performed, the many young members of the crowd waved the coalition’s white flags and called for a change in government.

“The country is with us, the moment for change has arrived and it will be a thorough, peaceful and uneventful change,” Maria Jose Pizarro, a senate candidate for Pacto Historico, told the crowd.

Petro urged his supporters to vote carefully to ensure a majority in Congress and then secure the presidency in the first round, without the need for a run-off.

He insisted that he wanted to be elected president to “change the history” and laws that have worked against workers, students and the poorest sections.

Electoral campaigns are set to end on Sunday for political parties taking part in the Colombian legislative elections on Mar. 13, on the same day when the parties will hold primaries to finalize their candidates for the May presidential poll.

In the Pacto Historico, a coalition of left, indigenous and green parties as well as independent organizations, odds seem stacked in favor of Petro, who had forced incumbent President Ivan Duque into a run-off in 2018, and is set to end his primary campaign in Barranquilla on Sunday.

A survey by pollster Invamer said on Friday that Petro was leading among its respondents and seemed set for a win, receiving 44.6 percent of the vote ahead of centrist hopeful Sergio Fajardo.

Pacto Historico is seeking to register a major improvement in its current Senate tally of nine seats and the 12 representatives that it currently has in the lower house.

It has launched a campaign to become the ruling party, announcing closed lists with a sizable number of women candidates to ensure parity, as well as ensuring representation from Afro-Colombians, people with disabilities, indigenous communities and a range of age groups and sectors.

Colombians are set to vote on Mar. 13 to elect members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, including the 16 seats reserved in the lower house for the victims of the Colombian armed conflict.

After the parties select their final candidates in the Mar. 13 primaries, the first-round of the presidential elections will be held on May 29, and if required, a runoff is scheduled for June 19. EFE


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