Gustavo Petro: Colombia’s first leftist President

Gustavo Petro has become the first leftist President of Colombia. He secured 50.5% of vote in second round of the presidential election, which was held on June 19, 2022.

Background

  • In April 2021, there was a series of anti-establishment protests in Colombia, against corruption, increased taxation amid covid-19 pandemic, stagnancy and new health care reform.
  • President Iván Duque Márquez was criticised for his taxation policy, at the time when jobs were hit badly.
  • Furthermore, former government attempted to push Bill 010, that was aimed at privatise healthcare. This fuelled anger and it was withdrawn after four days of massive protests.
  • Maximum electorate in Colombia is aged 28 or younger. Empty promises of jobs, and uncertain prospects for poverty, education, and inequalities hit them the hardest. According to Invamer poll, 68% support Gustavo Petro, and they are voters aged 18-24.

Who is Gustavo Petro?

Gustavo Petro is an environmental and human rights activist. He was a part of urban guerrilla outfit called M-19. M-19 was established in 1970. It sought to gain power by means of violence following claims of fraud in 1970 elections. Petro spent time in jail for carrying illegal arms. He joined urban military group when he was 17. He was among many university students and artists who were fighting against the government.  M-19 was discontinued in 1990 and was metamorphosed into a political party.

Petro’s attempt for presidency

Petro won in 2022 elections, in his third attempt at winning the presidency.  In 2018 elections, he was defeated by Duque Márquez. In 2022 election, both of the presidential candidates, Petro and Rodolfo Hernández, flighted against the monopoly of ruling political class.

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