Petro and Hernández Head to Presidential Runoff in Colombia


Photo: Colombian presidential candidates Gustavo Petro (L) and Rodolfo Hernández (R). Source: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images.

On Sunday, nearly 22 million Colombians voted in the first round of presidential elections. Current Senator and former mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, won 40 percent of the vote, while businessman and former mayor of Bucaramanga, Rodolfo Hernández, received 28 percent of the votes. Former mayor of Medellín Federico Gutiérrez consistently polled second ahead of Sunday’s election but only received 23.8 percent of the vote. None of the candidates met the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff, so Petro and Hernández will face off in a final-round election on Sunday, June 19. 

Petro, who represents the Pacto Histórico coalition, consistently led in polls before Sunday’s election. The self-described independent, anti-establishment Hernández rose in the polls in the final month before election day. Gutiérrez told his supporters he would back Hernández in the second round. Petro has promised to fully implement the 2016 peace accords and fight inequality, while Hernández has focused his campaign messaging on anti-corruption and law and order. Both candidates are running with vice-presidential candidates who identify as Afro-Colombian: environmental activist Francia Márquez is Petro’s running mate, while academic Marelen Castillo is Hernández’s running mate. By the end of Colombia’s presidential elections, the country will have its first Afro-Colombian vice president.

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