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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombians voted for a new congress Sunday and also solid ballots in presidential primaries to pick get together candidates for the Might presidential contest, as the nation held its initially elections because the coronavirus pandemic commenced two a long time in the past.

As view polls experienced indicated, leftist Sen. Gustavo Petro emerged as the latest leader in the race for the presidency. With almost all votes counted, he won the major for the Historical Pact, a coalition of left-wing events, with 80% of the extra than 5.4 million votes solid in its key.

Team Colombia, a coalition of conservative teams, drew 3.9 million voters to its most important, which was won by Federico Gutierrez, a former mayor of Medellin who has criticized some factors of the 2016 peace offer with Groundbreaking Armed Forces of Colombia.

A group of centrist functions recognized as the Hope Coalition obtained 2 million voters in its most important, which was gained by mathematician Sergio Fajardo, who also ran in the 2018 presidential election.

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The 3 will contend in Colombia’s presidential election Might 29 along with various other candidates picked formerly by smaller functions. If no one particular receives 50% of the votes, a runoff ballot would be held in June in between the top two finishers.

“It seems like candidates in the centre have been the large losers in this election,” said Sergio Guzman, a political possibility analyst in Bogota. “They confirmed divisions throughout the campaign and were not efficient at finding voters to the polls.”

Petro acquired additional than 4 million votes in Sunday’s most important, doubling the variety of votes obtained by all five candidates in the center’s key.

The senator, who belonged to a rebel group in the 1980s, has sought to capitalize on increasing stress with Colombia’s conservative authorities, which has overseen an boost in poverty all through the pandemic and final calendar year faced major protests around a tax boost approach, law enforcement violence and inequality.

Petro has promised to raise taxes on corporations and big landowners, and has recommended that if he gets president the authorities will acquire up some land to distribute to landless peasants. He has also claimed he would suspend oil exploration assignments and have the authorities just take a bigger part in the financial system, such as making certain a guaranteed once-a-year revenue for Colombians.

“He speaks to the social desires that have risen in the course of the pandemic, and were being mirrored in the protests,” explained Johan Caldas, a political science professor at the University of La Sabana in Bogota.

Petro’s critics contend he wants to put in a statist financial state in Colombia related to Venezuela’s. One particular of his most outspoken critics is Gutierrez, who described Petro in a latest interview as a threat to Colombia’s democracy.

“While he would like to expropriate house, I protect personal assets,” Gutierrez explained to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

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