Despite serious allegations of electoral fraud during Sunday’s legislative elections and interparty primaries, Colombia's leftist presidential hopeful and former mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro is confident he will win the next presidential elections on May 27.
Petro was officially elected as the presidential candidate of the Decencia (Decent) coalition of progressive parties, which includes his own Human Colombia Movement, the Independent Social Alliance and the Indigenous and Social Alternative Movement (MAIS).
Coalitions held internal primaries to decide on unified candidates for the presidential race on Sunday, the same day the legislative elections took place.
With 99.67 percent of the tally sheets processed, Petro won the official candidacy for his coalition with 2,848,868 votes or 84.69 percent, while Carlos Caicedo, the former mayor of Santa Marta, got 514,805 (15.3 percent).
“Without a dime to finance or campaign, we already have more than 2,800,000 votes. The goal now: to win,” Petro wrote in a Tweet Sunday night.
Petro said that despite the fact that right wing parties performed better in the legislative elections, his newly formed party has a good opportunity to win the presidential ones.
During the coalitions' primaries his left-wing coalition received more votes than the right-wing coalition in eight departments of the Colombian Caribbean, with 103 advantage points. The leftist parties also performed better on the Pacific coast, while both coalitions were virtually tied in Bogota, Colombia's capital city.
But Ivan Duque, the right-wing candidate supported by the hardliner ex-president of Colombia and now Senator-elect Alvaro Uribe, got 4,032,736 votes, about 67.73 percent, during his Despierta (Awake) coalition primaries.
The left-wing candidate and former M-19 rebel criticized the National Registry and current President Juan Manuel Santos for not providing the necessary conditions for a free and trustworthy electoral process.
“With photocopies and information sent by phone with no digital track. That's Colombia's registry. Santos lined up with fraud and lack of electoral transparency,” tweeted Petro after Sunday's elections.
The most recent polls predict a virtual tie between Petro and Duque, with both having about 23 percent of the voting intentions. If none of them get more than 50 percent of the vote on the first round of the presidential elections, Petro and Duque most likely will face off in a second round on June 17.
But with Petro's Decencia winning only 1.7 percent of the vote in the country’s House of Representatives and 3.4 percent in the Senate, the left-wing candidate would have a hard time dealing with a right-leaning congress if he wins the presidential elections.
Other presidential candidates include Sergio Fajardo, German Vargas Lleras, Piedad Cordoba and Juan Carlos Pinzon.