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Leftist Gustavo Petro favorite as Colombia votes in presidential runoff

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An army soldier prepares his gun as he guards a road from the top of an armored tank in Tocancipa, Cundinamarca department, Colombia, on June 18, 2022, a day before the presidential runoff election. (Photo by AFP)

Colombians are casting their ballots in the second round of the presidential election. 

About 39 million people are eligible to vote. Just above half of them turned out for the first round last month that ended with no winner. In this round, leftist Gustavo Petro is competing against populist senator Rodolfo Hernandez.

The voting takes place at one of the most turbulent times for Colombia. The country is plagued by the economic fallout from the Covid pandemic and social unrest.

Whoever becomes the next president will have to deal with a deeply divided nation. There's high poverty and unemployment.

The public dissatisfaction triggered massive protests last year. Both candidates have pledged radical social and financial reforms. But the campaign has been tense. And there are fears that violence could break out once the results are out.


In the meantime, both candidates have pledged to bring about and implement radical reforms to change the country's social and economic picture.

However, both men will have a tough time delivering on their promises as neither has a majority in Congress, which is necessary for them to implement their plans with a free hand.

To fill in the gap, the two sides' campaigning efforts have been intense. There are also fears that violence could break out once the results are released.

Colombians are a divided nation who have a degree of fear regarding the political left, which in the past has been associated with guerrilla groups that caused decades of blood and tears across the country.

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