(CNN Spanish) – Colombia’s first presidential run left an obvious hero, a left leading the country, a series of bitter events and a taste for traditional parties, and an unexpected victory even a few months ago for an anti-regime candidate who ended up on a coveted stage. Second place competition win on June 19.
This is the political panorama of Colombia after the first presidential round on May 29.
Gustavo Petro and the left
Gustavo Petro, candidate for the historic Charter, a coalition of left-wing parties, was the absolute winner today, with 8.5 million votes. This is a historic vote for the left in Colombia, a country traditionally ruled by the right.
In the first round, Petro won 40% of the vote, lagging far behind his main rival, Rodolfo Hernandez, of the Conservative League’s anti-corruption movement.
In this election, Petro amassed an electoral fortune never seen before by the left and grew exponentially in votes compared to previous elections. In his first nomination in 2010, Petro, the alternative Democratic pole candidate, received 1.3 million votes (9.1%). For 2018, his second nomination, Petro received 4.8 million votes in the first round (25% of valid votes). And now, in his third campaign, he won the election with 8.5 million votes (40% of the vote).
The candidate celebrated the news.
“More than 40%. If compared to the number it was four years ago, we wouldn’t even talk about it. Double. If compared to the numbers for March 13th, our last intervention, in my particular case, is almost double this Sunday in front of A crowd accompanied him in the center of Bogota.
“It’s undoubted growth in the three regions that we expected would win, and that, even because of their pedigree, could have allowed us to win the first presidential round,” Petro added.
However, although this vote for the historic charter is huge, it wasn’t enough to win Petro in the first round, which is the goal his campaign had set for himself, because in such a polarized country, the bets on the second round and alliances are here from now on They will play an important role in the election of the President of Colombia for the 2022-2026 term.
According to pre-election polls, which put Petro’s intention to vote at around 40%, he could have reached his electoral ceiling. Will you collect more votes in the second round? We will know on June 19.
Rodolfo Hernandez and populist discourse
Rodolfo Hernandez and the leaders of the Anti-Corruption League are undoubtedly the heroes of today. Hernandez, the regional politician best known for his anti-corruption rhetoric on social media (he calls himself the “King of TikTok”), received 5.9 million votes over popular candidates.
Hernandez, an anti-system businessman, is controversial wherever you look, and his proposals and rhetoric do not refer to the program but to the punishment of traditional politicians.
This Santander politician was a big surprise at night, because in all opinion polls he was in third place behind right-wing candidate Federico Gutierrez. However, in recent weeks, polls have shown that intent to vote has risen dramatically, and despite some sectors’ disbelief, it has finally happened: the presidency is now in dispute with Petro.
In his speech, Hernandez said Sunday’s vote is a reflection of the change Colombians are demanding.
“Today the country that doesn’t want to go on for a day has won, with the same men and women who led us into the dire situation we are in today,” Hernandez said, alone, apparently from his kitchen. , after spending it in the second round.
“I am aware of the difficulties that will come when I assume the presidency. I am not naive in the resistance that will be there against a government determined to put an end to politics and corruption, especially by some of those who have seen the owners of this country.”
Hernandez appeals to voters who reject Petro’s revolutionary past and support the founding of Gutierrez. His confrontational style and unique way of doing politics through social networks have earned him comparisons with former President Donald Trump and even with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. He surprised Hernandez because he rarely participated in TV debates organized by the country’s major television networks, rarely gave interviews to international media and once appeared on CNN in his pajamas saying he was a people’s person.
These elections had a high turnout compared to the previous elections. 21.4 million Colombians went to the polls on Sunday, leaving aside the usual principle of abstention in previous votes. 39 million Colombians were invited to vote and this time 54.91% of the electorate participated. In 2018, 19.6 million voters (out of 36 million electoral records) participated, corresponding to 54.2% of electoral participation.
Right-wing candidate Federico “Fico” Gutierrez came third in the votes on Sunday. He received 23.9% of the vote behind Rodolfo Hernandez.
‘Fico’, with 5 million votes, missed the string of endorsements he secured in his candidacy, including traditional parties such as the Conservative Party, the leadership of the Liberal Party (headed by former President Cesar Gaviria), and continuity. President Ivan Duque and even Uribismo, although Fico has distanced himself from the character of former President Alvaro Uribe and flatly denied being a continuity candidate.
And his association with Uribismo was the reason why Fico never made it to the second round, according to political analyst Vicente Torrijos.
“The moment it spreads that Fico Gutierrez has become the uribismo candidate, it starts to deteriorate,” Torrijos told CNN.
“The Uribismo that dominated the political scene, at this time, was a major cause of the deterioration of the ‘Fico’ Gutiérrez campaign, to the point where no one wanted President Duque or former President Uribe as his campaign reviewer,” added the political analyst.
Colombian analyst Leon Valencia noted that the votes that Fico had left with two options to change: “Even ten days ago, ‘Fico’ was the candidate to go to the second round, but it stopped. 20-23 points and today what has been clarified is that there is interest in the change.” In Colombia, which is that there is fatigue, and there is tremendous anger in the population and they voted for two options for change: one for Petro’s head and another for Rodolfo Hernandez’s head.”
After his defeat, Gutierrez announced his support for Rodolfo Hernandez.
Sergio Fajardo and the center
Which was once the choice of the middle and the face of the third party, and also represents an option for many to get out of the polarization, regressed in this election.
Sergio Fajardo of the Central Esperanza party received 4.2% of the vote in this election, well below the votes he received four years ago when he reached 4.6 million votes, which put him third behind Gustavo Petro in the first presidential round. year 2018.
Fajardo, who on Sunday, May 29, received 888 thousand votes, maintained the direction of votes from the internal consultations on March 13 of this year, when he was elected as the candidate of the Centro Esperanza coalition (received 723 thousand votes).
The Centro Esperanza campaign was marked by chaos: weeks of uncertainty and disagreements for the formation of the coalition, attacks among its members, the resignation of Ingrid Betancourt from the coalition, a drop in votes in consultations, and the collapse of Fajardo in the elections. Polls.
Voters punished Fajardo for not actively participating in the second round – which Duque and Pietro competed in – and instead went to see the whales.
“It affected a little bit in his image because he couldn’t work with others after that electoral defeat; it also affected Sergio Fajardo’s ability to meet with this center around him, in consideration which some have of the depth of the center’s proposals to be able to communicate with the citizens,” said Ines. Muñoz, a professor and researcher in the School of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Gafriana, previously told CNN.
(In June 2021, Fajardo said he felt “exhausted” after this marathon campaign and needed a break. While he apologized for the whale issue, he did not apologize for voting blank.)
Another case that could have affected his political image was a disciplinary process at the expense of 4.3 billion pesos (just over 1,100 million US dollars), for which he was ultimately not convicted.
“It was much more political damage to him than the whale issue,” Esteban Salazar, coordinator for democracy and governance at the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation, told CNN.
“It was really a blow, in his banner to fight corruption, independence, and in his struggle to not have any scandal, it hit him hard,” Salazar says. “The majority of the Center for Hope coalition votes are a truly invasive, utterly ethereal opinion vote.”
Oribismo and Evan Duque
Finally, the biggest loser in this first round was President Ivan Duque and ex-President Alvaro Uribe, the latter being particularly critical when it came to not supporting any candidate, according to analyst Vicente Torrijos.
Uribismo is no longer the electoral force it has been in the past 20 years, because, as analyst Rafael Nieto Luisa previously told CNN en Español, “Duque’s election as president and four years of his government, which has also been the target of criticism of their party, this political power is in decline.” “.
With such a high degree of unfavorable, former President Alvaro Uribe himself realized that his support for any candidate in the 2022 presidential election could be subtracted rather than added.
“Any candidate I get close to, there they say ‘Oribista’ and they put a stigma on him,” Uribe said in mid-April.
Finally, the election was also a referendum on the government of Evan Duque, who optimistically told the BBC last week that had he run for election he would have been re-elected. And what the first presidential run shows is that after a four-year government with plenty of ordeal and massive protests, Colombians want Duque and his unpopular government out of Colombian politics.
However, after Gutierrez and several right-wing politicians joined the Hernandez campaign, for many Oribismo he did not die, he only transformed.
— With information from Fernando Ramos, Sebastian Jimenez and Melissa Velasquez of CNN en Español.