Colombia has elected its first-ever left-wing President, and the first progressive government since the 1930s.

Former guerrilla fighter, Gustavo Petro’s Petro’s left-wing coalition defeated business leader Rodolfo Hern├índez with 50.47% to 47.27% with a small number of ballots still to be counted.

Petro tweeted upon his victory:

“Today is a party for the people. May so many sufferings be cushioned in the joy that today floods the heart of the homeland.”

In a victory speech, Petro stated that all Colombians must unite together from all sides of the political spectrum in order to solve the nation’s problems.

In a speech in front in front of thousands of jubilant supporters, he said:

“From this government that is beginning there will never be political persecution or legal persecution, there will only be respect and dialogue. That silent majority of peasants, Indigenous people, women, youth”.


“Today the majority of citizens have chosen the other candidate. As I said during the campaign, I accept the results of this election. I sincerely hope that this decision is beneficial for everyone.”

Petro’s victory will also mean that Colombia will have its first ever black Colombian in senior office. Francia Marquez, Petro’sPetro’s running mate will take the position of vice-president, one of the first women to do so.

At age 17, Petro became a member of the M-19 movement, a communist organisation inspired by the Cuban revolution, which fought a violent campaign against the authoritarian Colombian government in the 1970s. It was responsible for a number of killings.

In 1985 Petro was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and imprisoned for 18 months. He has since disavowed the use of violence in achieving political goals.

The victory of a left-wing candidate follows similar victories in Ecuador, Honduras, and in Chile.

Among Petro’sPetro’s first tasks will be restarting a ceasefire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a Marxist organisation, that has fought a 40-year war against the Colombian state and is widely believed to be involved in major trafficking of cocaine.

[Based on reporting by: The Guardian]

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