Strong primary turnout and a record vote count for left-wing presidential candidate Gustavo Petro threatens to end nearly two decades of right-wing rule in Colombia. Petro’s coalition looked sure to be the biggest bloc in a fragmented senate while right-wing president Ivan Duque’s party suffered a sharp drop in its share of seats. The senator, former congressman, and ex-mayor of Bogotá has pledged wholesale land reform, a wealth tax on top families, and to repeal laws that liberalized labor markets.
The results offered a surprise for a political left saddled with ties to the unpopular FARC and suggested that mass protests and pandemic dislocations have finally eroded the long-dominant right-wing. Consultancy FrontierView concluded that Sunday’s results make Petro’s victory in May’s election most likely. But while Colombia’s perspective shift to the left carries some negative implications for GDP growth and the peso, a fractured Congress and barriers in the courts make the more radical elements of Petro’s agenda unlikely.