Colombians are summoned to the polls this Sunday to elect the next president of a country calling for changes and coming to the polls amid the social and economic crisis generated by President Ivan Duque and his neoliberal policies.
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The electoral census is made up of 39,002,239 citizens, but abstention in the country is usually close to 50 percent. For this reason, it is expected that some 20 million Colombians will vote in the 12,263 electoral sites installed throughout the country by the Civil Registry, the institution that organizes the presidential elections and that began distributing electoral material last week.
Of the six candidates formally registered to participate, only three politicians have a real chance of reaching the Presidency. According to all voting intention polls published up to last week, the favorite candidate to win with over 45 percent of the vote is Gustavo Petro, who belongs to the Historical Pact, an alliance of leftist political parties and social movements.
He is followed by Federico Gutierrez, a right-wing "Team for Colombia" politician who has managed to capture at most 24 percent of citizen sympathy. In third place is Rodolfo Hernandez, a populist candidate who is sponsored by the "League of Anti-Corruption Rulers" and who has achieved 20 percent of voting intentions.
The electoral results, however, could be more surprising since analysts even predict that the Historical Pact candidate could win in a single electoral round.
If this happens, the Left would come to power for the first time in Colombia, led by Petro, who was a member of the April 19 Movement (M-19), a guerrilla group that laid down its arms decades ago. If no candidate obtains over 50 percent of the vote, Colombians will take part in a second round on June 19.
The world's gaze is focused today on Colombia, a country torn apart by internal armed conflicts that began over 70 years ago. Although the population hopes for peaceful elections, the endemic violence has already made itself felt.
In recent weeks, for example, Gustavo Petro and his vice-presidential candidate Francia Marquez denounced threats from far-right paramilitary groups. Furthermore, according to the Ombudsman's Office, illegal armed groups create "high risk" of violence for 45 percent of voters, especially in rural areas.