Fernando Vergara / AP
Colombia held its first presidential election on Sunday after a landmark peace agreement ended a 50-year guerrilla war. The struggle for leadership of the country is now going downhill between two ideological opposites and it is expected that the race will be controversial.
The right-wing candidate, Ivan Duque, a former senator, took first place and will face the left Gustavo Petro, a former mayor of Bogota and a once-in-a-lifetime rebel. Of the 19 million votes cast, Duque won 39 percent – the 50 percent mark was missing to avoid a run-off. Petro received 25 percent.
Ricardo Mazalan / AP
Third-placed Sergio Fajardo received nearly 24 percent of the vote, and his share should be crucial in the bounce. He did not specify which candidate he will support.
Duque has received the support of former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who is excluded from the constitution for a third term. Uribe is immensely popular for having ordered devastating military attacks on Colombia's guerrilla forces during his two terms in office.
John Otis of NPR in Bogota reports: "With Uribe's support, Duque has come to the forefront of choice He becomes a kind of puppet president, with Uribe pulling the strings, but Duque insists he is his own man."
Second-placed Petro and his populist platform "Humane Colombia" have comparisons between critics and The late Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez Petro once admired
The Associated Press reports: Petro describes himself as "strong opponent" of the current president of the neighboring country, Nicolas Maduro, but his early relations with Chavez have pursued him throughout the campaign
Whoever wins the runoff and becomes president, will have a great say in the future of the peace agreement. The agreement ended with a war that claimed 220,000 lives and greatly reduced violence. Petro supports the peace treaty, but Duque has promised to rewrite it.
John Otis reports: "Duque claims that it is too lax for former rebels, for example, those accused of war crimes can escape prison The fact that the treaty has given the former ten guerilla seats to the Colombian Congress is disturbing. "
Ramiro Bejarano, a columnist of El Espectador reported to the Associated Press that" Duque's 14-point lead will be difficult for Petro to overcome whose biggest challenge is voters to convince them that he will not turn Colombia into another Venezuela. "
While most polls have Duque's favorites to win the June 17 runoff, Petro should not be counted]