The campaign for a second round begins in Colombia where everything is possible

Colombia begins to digest an electoral result that did not meet the expectations of almost anyone, except those of Rodolfo Hernandezfrom La Liga Gobernantes Anticorrupción, which will dispute the second round on June 19 with the left of Gustavo Petro, winner of the elections. It was expected that Petro would not win in the first round, but her expectation was to obtain 45% of the vote. The surveys handled some margins that placed it between 38 and 43%. And although the rise of the left and her victory with eight and a half million votes was incontestable, it stayed at 40%.

In the opposite direction, it was also expected that the right-wing parties, both that of Rodríguez and the Colombian Team of Federico Gutierrez together obtained a slightly lower percentage than they had, 28 and 24% respectively, thus adding up to 52%. Of the fourth candidate in discord, Sergio Fajardofrom the Hope Center Coalition, a bad result was predicted but it was not expected to be so low with only 4.20% of the votes.

This Monday was a holiday in Colombia, but the campaign for the second round has already begun for the two candidates who, in these 20 days, if they want to win, must find a way to grow with respect to the results of the first round by 10 points and one and a half million votes in the case of Petro and 22 points and about five million votes in the case of Hernández.

Most analysts agree that the campaign is very open and that Hernández has complicated Petro’s life

The difference seems very clear and insurmountable in favor of Petro, but most analysts agree that the campaign is wide open and that Rodolfo Hernández has complicated the life of the leader of the Historical Pact who would have had a more favorable scenario if, as predicted, it had been Fico Gutiérrez who would have gone to the second round. Had this been the case, Rodolfo Hernández would surely have supported the progressive candidate.

For Carolina Jimenez, Director of the Department of Political Science at the National University of Colombia, Rodolfo Hernández has grown very rapidly in recent weeks and makes a second round more complex. “He is a candidate who does not have a program or a proposal, does not have political forces that accompany him, nor does he have representation in Congress. And he is a candidate who presents himself as anti-establishment and builds a narrative simply of corruption without being clear enough , but his authoritarian and anti-corruption discourse permeates various sectors of society Colombian,” he tells Public.

What is the growth margin of the candidates?

The question is where the two candidates for the presidency of Colombia can grow. Hernandez, who has said that he will get twelve million votes, has a large margin to do so because The entire Colombian right will support him, including Uribism through the Democratic Center. Hernández says that he has accepted them because he knows that they are against Petro, but he would prefer to distance himself from that Uribista right that is already trying to capitalize on the rise of the figure of Hernández, knowing that he does not have a political structure that supports him.

Petro has less room to grow after having obtained eight and a half million votes. It is possible that the five million who supported Fico are not all going to go with Hernández and that he can capitalize on part of the votes of Sergio Fajardo’s Coalition of Hope, which was dissolved yesterday, formed by eight political parties, some of which have already announced that he would not support Petro. Fajardo has not yet spoken. Another point would be to try to reduce the abstention that was 46%. Of the 39 million people called to the polls, 21 voted, although in the second round the turnout is usually somewhat higher.

For Carolina Jiménez, Petro’s challenge is indeed to be able to capitalize on the votes of forces like Fajardo’s, try to reduce abstention and know what will happen to some of Fico’s votes that are the result of the so-called political machines related to parties such as the Liberal Party or Radical change and that they could opt for Petro. “It would be a situation that would put the left-wing candidate in a negotiation scenario with systematic institutional forces that will try to thin out the reformist proposal of the Historical Pact a little.”

Petro, for his part, has already announced that in these three weeks of campaign there will be no mass acts in public squares but they will promote mobilization and will have a lot of contact with citizens with the aim of getting that million and a half people who should vote for him. Petro, who won in 18 of the 32 departments of Colombia, invited his militancy to get those votes throughout the Colombian geography.

León Valencia: “The Historical Pact is nervous, it should calm down and send a more optimistic message to its voters and militants”

For Leon Valencia, analyst and director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, Petro’s Historical Pact is nervous, it should calm down and send a more optimistic message to its voters and its militants. “Petro has to mobilize people who abstained in these electionsaddress their message to the youth, now simplify their messages in the debates in front of a man like Rodolfo Hernández who shuns them and try to neutralize some of the Fico Gutiérrez voters so that they don’t go to Rodolfo”, he explains to Public.

The electoral strategy will be equally important when it comes to determining where the vote goes. “I think that what we are going to see in these three weeks is how candidate Hernández’s weaknesses are exploited,” says Valencia. Weaknesses, for example, such as raising the flag of anti-corruption and he himself is accused of a corruption case.

Both Hernández and Petro arouse fear in a part of Colombian society. In the case of Petro, it is more unfounded and has to do with the terror that has been instilled in the population for years, telling them that a victory for the left would be equivalent to Colombia becoming a Venezuela. In the case of Hernández has more to do with his populism that makes the mere fact that a character like him can become president causes fear in a part of society. “Hernandez has an authoritarian, misogynistic discourse and a narrative is going to be built that is Trump, Bolsonario or Bukele for Colombia. But in a context of crisis and precariousness like the one we are experiencing, there is concern that there is a president who does not have a clear political proposal and does not propose a strategy to face the most heartfelt problems of society”, argues Carolina Jimenez.

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