Right-winger and leftist go for Colombia presidential runoff

Right-wing candidate Ivan Duque of Centro Democrático party emerged winner in Colombia’s presidential elections on Sunday to face leftist candidate Gustavo Petro (pictured) of Colombia Human in the run-off scheduled for June 17.

Duque secured 39.1% and Petro 25.1% of the 20 million votes polled to elect the successor of Juan Manuel Santos.

Centrist Sergio Fajaro, former mayor of Medellín, came third with 23.7% and centre-right candidate German Vargas Lleras ended fourth with 7.3 per cent.

Duque’s campaign pitch is fight against corruption while Petro promises a society of equals based on universal education and welfare of the middle class.

Most of Fajardo’s voters are expected to back Petro and Lleras’ voters are likely to support Duque in the run-up.

If Petro, a former guerrilla head, wins the polls, he will become the first leftist president to lead the country.

His victory will also ensure peace in Colombia which had witnessed 52 years of conflict involving several leftist rebel groups and the army.

The latest election is linked to a 2016 peace deal between Santos and the former guerrilla movement FARC. Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize the same year for his efforts to seal the deal.

FARC leader Rodrigo Londono said he wants peace after casting his ballot.

Duque has warned voters that Colombia will face economic crisis like Venezuela if a leftist government comes to power.