Leftist senator Gustavo Petro will face off against populist businessman Rodolfo Hernandez in the Colombia 2022 presidential runoff election today.
The former mayor of Bucaramanga, Hernandez is sometimes called the “Colombian Trump.” A relative political newcomer, his campaign gained traction through social media. He is running on an anti-corruption and anti-establishment platform, despite being indicted for unlawful favoritism in the awarding of contracts during his time as mayor.
While the election initially looked like a runaway win for Petro, a former guerilla, Hernandez’s burgeoning popularity saw him capture 28.15% of the vote. Petro came short of an absolute majority at 40.32%, forcing a runoff.
Current polls show the two in a virtual tie, as Hernandez’s anti-establishment message will likely pick up votes won by right-wing candidate Federico Gutierrez in the first round. Regardless of the outcome, today’s election will upend three decades of conservative establishment rule in Colombia. While both candidates appeal to voters deeply unsatisfied with the political status quo, their approaches to solving Colombia’s woes differ. A Petro win would see the expansion of social safety nets and higher taxes on the wealthy, while Hernandez would pursue more technocrat-based governance but face legislative gridlock due to his lack of a strong backing party.
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Jon is a Content Editor and Analyst within the Analysis division of Foreign Brief.