Bogota, Jun 19 (EFE).- The Colombian left won the presidency for the first time in Sunday’s runoff election, with ex-guerrilla and former Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro, with the Pacto Historico coalition, emerging victorious.
With 98.86 percent of the votes counted, Petro has obtained 11,185,671 votes – or 50.49 percent – to independent populist Rodolfo Hernandez’s 10,468,781, or 47.25 percent, the National Registry announced.
Petro’s advantage over Hernandez, a 77-year-old real estate magnate with the League of Anticorruption Governors party, stands at 716,890, or 3.24 percent, and that is above what the voter surveys had given him as they predicted a technical tie and some of them putting the two men within one percentage point of each other.
Thus, Petro, a 62-year-old economist and senator who has run for president twice before, on Aug. 7 will succeed President Ivan Duque and will govern from 2022-2026.
“We won at last! Congratulations to the new president of Colombia @petrogustavo and to the new vice president and all Colombians, @FranciaMarquezM!”, wrote current Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez, the first official to react to the election result, on her Twitter account, followed shortly by Duque and by other Latin American leaders.
After the win was made public, Petro said that “Today is a holiday for the people” and dedicated his triumph, which he called “the first popular victory,” to the public.
“Let (the public) celebrate … Let so many sufferings be alleviated in the joy that today floods the hearts of the Homeland. This victory is for God and the People and their history. Today is the day of the streets and the plazas,” said Petro, who headed Bogota from 2012-2015, in a Twitter message.
Meanwhile, Hernandez on Sunday evening accepted his defeat and said he hoped that Petro knew how to govern the nation.
“I sincerely hope that this decision that has been made will be beneficial for all and that Colombia is heading toward the change that predominated in the first-round balloting. I wish Dr. Gustavo Petro (the best) in knowing how to head the country, being firm in his discourse against corruption and that he will not let down those who placed their trust in him,” Hernandez said in a short message retransmitted via Facebook.