Colombia’s Presidential Election Heads to Runoff Next Month

Supporters of Ivan Duque, presidential candidate for the Democratic Center, celebrate presidential elections results at the candidate’s headquarters in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Preliminary tallies put the former senator, and protégé of President Alvaro, in first place. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Colombia’s presidential election will head to a runoff next month, since no candidate won 50 percent of the vote Sunday.

With 96.6 percent of polling stations reporting on Sunday, conservative Ivan Duque was leading with 39% of votes. In second place was leftist Gustavo Petro with 25%, closely trailed by centrist Sergio Fajardo.

The election is seen by some observers as a referendum on the country’s peace deal with FARC rebels.

Six candidates were vying to fill the seat left by departing President Juan Manuel Santos, who was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the long-running civil war between his government and guerillas from FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Under the deal, the rebels agreed to lay down their arms, exit the jungle and pursue their aims via politics rather than guerilla warfare.

The frontrunners in the election to replace Santos couldn’t differ more on the peace deal. Conservative Duque has taken tough stances against FARC and openly opposes the deal, while left-wing Petro supports the deal and blames former President Alvaro Uribe for the turmoil wrought by FARC.

Uribe has endorsed Duque. Santos has not issued an endorsement.

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SOURCE: CNN, Eliott C. McLaughlin