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News > Latin America

Colombia: Leftist Gustavo Petro Wins Primary

  • Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro speaks during his closing campaign on March 4, 2022, in Bogotá

    Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro speaks during his closing campaign on March 4, 2022, in Bogotá | Photo: EFE / Carlos Ortega

Published 13 March 2022

With nearly 64% of the vote counted, the leftist candidate for the Historic Pact for Colombia is the winner of that political coalition's primary. The coalition also is leading in both the Senate and House in a historic win for the left in Colombia. 

On Sunday, about 39 million Colombians go to the polls to elect the new members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, among whom are 16 lawmakers who will occupy the "peace seats" in the Lower House that are reserved for victims of the armed conflict. The electoral process will take place in Colombian territory from 08:00 am to 04:00 pm.

On this day, citizens will also take part in primary elections to choose the candidates who will participate in the May 29 presidential elections. Below are the main developments of these electoral processes as they happen.


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Petro: "We are on the verge of winning the Presidency of Colombia in the first round"

Petro, the most voted candidate in the inter-party consultations held this Sunday, celebrated his victory in an event that was also attended by his rivals in the coalition, among them Francia Márquez, the revelation in these elections.

"The Historic Pact has achieved the best result of progressivism in the history of Colombia", said Petro, who also highlighted the good result of this coalition in the votes for the Senate and the House of Representatives.

With more than 95% of the votes counted, Petro managed to obtain 80.48% of the votes of the Historical Pact (more than 4.2 million votes), for which he will go to the polls to try to win the Presidency on May 29, for which he would need to obtain half plus one of the valid votes.

After this "immense victory", the leftist candidate pointed out that "as from tomorrow the first presidential round begins. We will defend a common program to turn Colombia into a power of life and make the economy revolve around life".

"We are presenting to the whole Colombian society the possibility of changing Colombia, we do not want a (Iván) Duque two to appear, we want change and transformation to appear. The time has come for Colombia," he said, after speaking of Gabriel Boric's victory in Chile.

"Loving the people today means building peace, social justice and a society of rights," he said during his speech.

Finally, Petro invited "all the democratic forces of the country" to join the Historic Pact, "because they are not all there yet" and "a step towards the configuration of a great democratic broad front" must be taken. Specifically, the candidate mentioned the Green Party, the Liberal Party and the "conservatism that still believes in ethics".

Social leader Francia Márquez, for her part, congratulated Petro and greeted "with joy this great result" while defending "a project that is capable of putting life at the center".

"I salute the nobodies and nobodies of Colombia, who accompanied us from the mountains, plains, neighborhoods of this country (...). Let's go Colombia from resistance to power until dignity becomes customary", said Marquez.

The leftist Historic Pact for Colombia leads in both the Senate and House of Representatives

According to preliminary results, in the Senate of the Republic with 46.51 percent of the polls counted, the Historical Pact leads with 972,163 votes (14.83 percent), followed by the Conservative Party with 903,567 (13.78 percent) Liberal Party 836. 119 (12.75 percent), Coalición Alianza Verde y Centro Esperanza 814,103 (12.42 percent), Centro Democrático with 737,104 (11.24 percent), Cambio Radical 626,982 (9.56 percent), Partido de la U 570,949 votes (8.71 percent), .

Regarding the House of Representatives, with 52.71 percent of the polls counted, the Historical Pact coalition obtained 1,228,127 votes (15.68 percent), followed by the Liberal Party with 1,112,792 (14.21 percent), the Conservative Party with 973,131 votes (12.42 percent), and the Conservative Party with 973,131 votes (12.42 percent). 131 votes (12.42 percent), Centro Democrático with 761,016 (9.71 percent), Cambio Radical 661,997 (8.45 percent), Partido de la U with 639,321 (8.16 percent), Alianza Verde with 511,658 votes (6.53 percent).

Petro sweeps and will be the presidential candidate of the Historic Pact for Colombia

Senator Gustavo Petro won massively with over 80% of the votes in the presidential primary of the coalition Pacto Histórico, thus becoming the candidate for the Presidency of Colombia for this leftist coalition.

With 74,13% of the votes counted, Petro sweeps the left-wing primary with more than 3.2 million votes (80,26%), while social activist Francia Márquez, another of the most recognized faces of the coalition, is in second place with 14,20% and 570.869 votes.

"Fico" Gutiérrez is emerging as the candidate of the Colombian right-wing sector

The former Mayor of Medellin Federico "Fico" Gutierrez won this Sunday in the primary of the coalition Team for Colombia and is the virtual candidate for that right-wing coalition in the presidential elections of May 29.

With 70,76% % of the votes counted, Gutiérrez, popularly known as "Fico", obtained a little more than one million and a half votes, equivalent to 54.50 %, followed by conservative former mayor of Barranquilla, Alex Char, with close to 450.000 votes (16.40 %).

Petro has reached an insurmountable lead in the Historic Pact for Colombia 

Petro, Gutierrez and Amaya currently lead in their respective political coalitions as they define who will represent the three conglomerates in the upcoming presidential elections

Polls have closed in Colombia

Results are expected throughout the evening.


International observers warn about electoral irregularities. In its first report, the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) highlighted that election day was marked by some "not very positive factors" such as difficulties in Civil Registry's tech infrastructure, since 181 reports had been received on possible irregularities in its application.

Many citizens were also unable to vote easily due to the relocation of polling stations in El Encanto, Amazonas, El Resguardo, la Voragine, and Arauquita. It was confirmed that authorities did not provide citizens with cards to vote in the primary presidential elections in six municipalities where the “Peace Seats” are located.

Sahagun city electoral authorities attempt to induce vote. In the primary elections of presidential candidates, they refused to give citizens ballots with the candidates of the Historical Pact, alleging that this leftist coalition did not have representatives in the Lower House.

The CNR and public institutions activate a security plan. This initiative seeks to counteract the high flow of attacks towards the Civil National Register's website and the Info Votantes app. The Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) recalled that none of these platforms is linked to the voting counting software, which has not presented flaws.

Citizens reject that CNR arbitrarily changed their voting center. "Citizens cannot denounce this situation because there is no physical or digital information about polling stations," Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez stressed, recalling that the Info Votante app and the CNR web page continue to be down.

Unknown criminals block roads in the La Guajira department. Journalist Katia Salim pointed out that such action represents an "electoral crime", for it seeks to prevent citizens from attending polling stations.

The Civil National Register (CNR) web page and Info Voters app are down. This situation prevents citizens from consulting in which polling station they should vote.

"Dear CNR President Alexander Vega, it is your duty to ensure that citizens have easy and timely access to registration information and polling stations. Please fulfill that elementary guarantee," Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez stated.

The National Police Director Jorge Vargas urged citizens to vote as early as possible.  Heavy rainfall has been registered across the national territory.

President Ivan Duque casts his vote at Bolivar Square polling station in Bogota. "I want to congratulate electoral authorities, security officials, and international observers for having worked so hard to have this true celebration of democracy," he said.

Besides welcoming that the victims of the armed conflict participate in this process, he urged all citizens to denounce any attempt of vote coercion or fraud. “Let these elections be an opportunity to reflect on and reject polarization in our society,” the President stated.

Over 240,000 security agents will monitor the elections. The electoral authorities installed 110,758 polling stations in the national territory and 1,251 polling stations abroad. The security of the voting sites will be protected by over 240,000 public agents, who will also protect some 180 electoral observers from 35 countries.

Alcohol ban started on Saturday. Bogota will take extreme security measures to facilitate the vote of almost 6 million citizens. In this city and throughout the Colombian territory, people are prohibited from drinking alcohol from Saturday, March 12 at 6:00 p.m. until Monday, March 14 at 6:00 a.m.

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