Colombia elects former guerrilla Petro as first leftist president

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BOGOTA/BUCARAMANGA, June 19 (Reuters) – Leftist Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla movement, who has vowed profound social and economic modify, received Colombia’s presidency on Sunday, the initially progressive to do so in the country’s record.

Petro defeat design magnate Rodolfo Hernandez with an unexpectedly extensive margin of far more than 700,000 votes in what analysts reported was a demonstration of Colombians’ eagerness for initiatives to battle deep inequality.

Petro, a former mayor of capital Bogota and current senator, has pledged to fight inequality with free university education, pension reforms and significant taxes on unproductive land. He won 50.5% to Hernandez’s 47.3%.

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Petro’s proposals – primarily a ban on new oil initiatives – have startled some buyers, while he has promised to respect current contracts. read more

His victory was likely to induce market jitters right until his cupboard is introduced, analysts explained to Reuters on Sunday.

“From these days Colombia adjustments Colombia is diverse,” Petro informed cheering supporters in Bogota’s concert arena. “Modify consists specifically in leaving driving sectarianism.”

“It is not a time for despise, this authorities, which will commence on Aug. 7, is a governing administration of lifetime,” he mentioned.

Alejandro Forero, 40, who makes use of a wheelchair, cried as benefits arrived in.

“Lastly, thank God. I know he will be a fantastic president and he will support people of us who are the very least privileged. This is likely to transform for the much better,” explained Forero, who is unemployed.

Hundreds of folks took to the streets in Bogota to rejoice, with some dancing in the vicinity of its most significant polling position less than intermittent rain.

This campaign was Petro’s 3rd presidential bid and his victory provides the Andean nation to a checklist of Latin American nations that have elected progressives in latest several years.

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Petro’s victory confirmed people in Colombia – wherever almost half the population life in some type of poverty – are eager to battle inequality, reported Daniela Cuellar of FTI Consulting.

“What the Colombian populace demonstrated right now is that they are trying to get a authorities concentrated on vital social difficulties,” she stated. “Colombia’s longstanding illnesses of inequality, which ended up exacerbated by COVID-19, have contributed to the citizens searching for a change.”

But a fragmented congress, exactly where a dozen get-togethers have seats, will act as a verify on Petro’s proposals.

“Colombia’s institutional energy and rule of regulation show up adequately sturdy for the nation to manage economic steadiness,” Cuellar mentioned. “Furthermore, campaigning is not governing, Petro’s insurance policies will be extra average.”

“Even if he attempts to go radical reforms, he does not have the congressional guidance to implement them,” she added.

Petro, 62, reported he was tortured by the military when he was detained for his involvement with the guerrillas, and his potential victory had superior-ranking armed forces officers bracing for alter. browse more

Petro’s functioning mate, Francia Marquez, a one mom and previous housekeeper, will be the country’s to start with Afro-Colombian woman vice-president. study extra

“These days I’m voting for my daughter – she turned 15 two weeks ago and requested for just just one gift: that I vote for Petro,” said stability guard Pedro Vargas, 48, in Bogota’s southwest on Sunday early morning.

“I hope this gentleman fulfills the hopes of my daughter, she has a good deal of faith in his guarantees,” additional Vargas, who reported he usually does not vote.

Petro has also pledged to absolutely implement a 2016 peace offer with FARC rebels and request talks with the even now-active ELN guerrillas.

Current market JITTERS

Analysts have stated the proposed halt to oil development could send out expense elsewhere at a time when Colombia is struggling with low credit score rankings, a large trade deficit and nationwide credit card debt which has doubled to 72% of GDP about the last 10 years.

Oil accounts for almost 50 percent of exports and near to 10% of nationwide money, but Petro argues new initiatives should be barred for environmental good reasons and to transfer Colombia away from dependence on the industry.

Petro has also promised to boost taxes and royalties on extractive industries and demand important landholders for unproductive land, boosting some $5.2 billion. He also proposes to elevate up to $3.9 billion by progressively taxing organizations.

“We consider on Tuesday both desire charges on TES bonds and the trade rate will depreciate, but we have to have to see what type of rhetoric Petro presents us, what sort of cupboard he’ll give us,” reported Sergio Olarte, head economist for Colombia at Scotiabank.

Monday is a holiday getaway in Colombia.

“The magnitude of movements in the coming trading classes will count on the financial line that the new president delivers,” agreed David Cubides, head economist at Allianz brokerage, who mentioned he expects community market volatility for the duration of the upcoming week.

Current President Ivan Duque tweeted he had called to congratulate Petro, and they have scheduled a meeting in coming times to guarantee a harmonious transition.

Colombian presidents are confined to one time period.

Some 22.6 million people today voted, about 1.2 million extra than in the to start with round. Some 2.3% of voters turned in protest votes, backing neither prospect.

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Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra, Oliver Griffin, Carlos Vargas, Luis Jaime Acosta and Julia Symmes Cobb
Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb
Enhancing by Grant McCool, Chizu Nomiyama, Lisa Shumaker and Nick Zieminski

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Have faith in Concepts.

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