The left has achieved a massive vote this Sunday thanks to the pull of Gustavo Petro, the favorite to be the next president of Colombia, and the solidity of the environmentalist Francia Márquez among progressives. The Historic Pact, as this coalition is called, has received twice as many votes as the right and six times as many as the center. The former M-19 guerrilla complied with the forecasts and walks steadily to the vote in the first round. “We have achieved the best result of progressivism in the history of Colombia,” said Petro, elated.
With these data in hand, it is not unreasonable that Petro manages to win in the first round, without the need for a second. For that he needs an absolute majority, half plus one. Until now, only one candidate in the modern history of Colombia has achieved it, Álvaro Uribe in 2006. This is possibly his best chance, the straightest line, of reaching the Palacio de Nariño, the presidential residence. The second round could be a trap for his interests. The former mayor of Bogotá attracts followers and detractors with the same magnetism. The final round could turn into a everyone against Petro.
Their numbers, today, are overwhelming. She received 80% of the votes of her coalition, something expected, but it remained to be seen if the absolute number of votes was going to be good. It is. He accumulated four million votes (90% scrutinized), 1.2 million more than in the 2018 consultation. Only 800,000 of those he had in the first round against Iván Duque, who ended up defeating him. Duque’s low popularity as president, the loss of shine of Uribismo and the social discontent that was reflected in last year’s protests have consolidated his presidential profile.
The big question on the left is whether Petro will have Márquez as his presidential ticket. That means that when the time comes she would be his vice president. Márquez comes from the bowels of rural Colombia. In 2014, she led a mobilization of black women in Cauca, one of the territories hardest hit by the armed conflict. She denounced that illegal mining poisoned the rivers and destroyed the forests, the type of activism that usually costs you your life in that place. That courage of hers led her to win the Goldman Environmental Prize, the Nobel Prize for the environment.
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According to analysts, Petro’s temptation is to ally himself with someone with more power in traditional politics who will ensure his victory. Joining the coalition meant accepting that the second most voted would be the formula, but that does not guarantee anything. Petro has been ambiguous about it. In fact, some Petro voters in the first round assured that they were going to vote for Márquez to empower her and force the winner to have her in her team. Márquez represents blackness, minorities, regionalism in an excessively capitalist country, and feminism.
From now on, Petro tries to show a more moderate face than the one his rivals try to attribute to him. Conservatism relates it to the extreme left, Nicolás Maduro and Castroism. In the speech he gave when the results were known, he highlighted his embrace the other day with Gabriel Boric, the hope of the left in Latin America, and his visit to the Pope in Rome.
Petro will now have to campaign against Sergio Fajardo, winner of the center’s consultation, and Federico Gutiérrez, phyco, winner of the right. Fajardo obtained some very discreet numbers, proof that this fragmented and finally confronted coalition has not worked. Even Ingrid Betancourt, who belonged to it and left it, can take away votes as an independent candidate.
Fico (Medellín, 47 years old) will occupy the exact place of Duque four years ago. Then Duque, Petro and Fajardo faced each other. Now Fico, Petro and Fajardo. In its favour, the conservative inertia that has made Uribismo and its derivatives govern Colombia in the last two decades. On the contrary, the wear and tear that this entails. Petro, on the other hand, represents for many a change of cycle.
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