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International: Columbia elects Gustavo Petro as first left-wing president

4:30 pm on 20 June 2022

By Paddy Fox

Columbia has elected its new president, former guerilla fighter Gustavo Petro.

A member of the M-19 movement in the 1980s, Petro is the first leftist to hold the office, promising to listen to "the silent majority of peasants, Indigenous people, women, and youth".

Petro defeated construction magnate Rodolfo Hernandez gaining 50.5% of the vote, with both Hernandez and outgoing president Duque congratulating Petro on social media.

In his victory speech, Petro said that under his government, "there will never be political persecution or legal persecution," referring to Columbia's long history of political violence.

Public Interest Journalism Funded by NZ on Air.