Voters to polls in Colombia elections

Colombian voters will choose a new president from a former rebel who promises lavish social programs, a center-right candidate who warns against a left-wing economic model and an eccentric business magnate.

Gustavo Petro, a left-wing former mayor of Bogota and member of the M-19 guerrilla group and current senator, consistently leads the polls with about 40 percent support, ten points below what he would need to secure the presidency without a runoff. in June .

The 62-year-old has garnered support for promises to redistribute pensions, offer free public universities and fight deep inequalities.

His main opponent is Federico Gutierrez, the centre-right former mayor of Medellin, who has about 25 percent of the following.

Gutierrez highlighted his own plans for a basic income for five million households, economic growth of five percent a year and more efficient government spending in response to accusations that he is an ideological successor to the unpopular President Ivan Duque.

Gutierrez, 47, has said Petro poses a threat to democracy and warned the left’s economic plans, including a ban on new oil and gas projects, will ruin Colombia’s economy.

Third in the six-time race is construction magnate and former Bucaramanga mayor Rodolfo Hernandez, with about 20 percent support.

Hernandez, who runs independently, is known for erratic social media videos, including of him riding an electric scooter, and anti-corruption promises.

The 77-year-old himself is facing an ongoing investigation into whether he intervened in a tender for a company his son was lobbying for. He has denied the wrongdoing.

The country’s clerk has said there is no possibility of electoral fraud after candidates repeatedly raised concerns about irregularities during the March parliamentary election that election officials labeled as procedural errors.

Polling stations open at 8 a.m. on Sunday and close at 4 p.m. Results are expected approximately four hours after closure.

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