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Colombia faces historic shift in upcoming elections

Colombia will hold legislative elections Sunday that will set the stage for a decisive presidential election in May.

Nearly 39 million of the country’s 50 million inhabitants are eligible to vote to renew the upper and lower houses of Congress and to elect a shortlist of presidential candidates.

It is a critical election, according to Mauricio Jaramillo, politics professor at Rosario University, because the country has always voted for a Congress dominated by right-wing parties but this election could completely shift the political map.

“The left is projected as one of the main forces in Congress and very likely to reach the second round of the presidential elections and even the presidency,” Jaramillo told Anadolu Agency.

Results will determine whether the next president will be able to govern, said Jaramillo.

“One of the main problems of the (Ivan) Duque government is that it has had a poor legislative performance,” he said. “The legislative agenda of this government is very meager so if the next president wants to pass bills, he must strive to obtain a majority in Congress.”

Particularly, in the upcoming election, it could mark a historical political shift.

In a country that has been ruled in the last 20 years by right-leaning politicians, supported by former right-wing President Alvaro Uribe, polls show that former guerrilla member Gustavo Petro could become the first leftist president in the South American nation.

Although for many it is a much-needed change in one of the most unequal countries in the region, Petro represents a radical change in the economic policies of a country that is gradually emerging from the crisis left by the coronavirus pandemic.

Petro’s economic proposals have caused fear for investors, who are worried that he will shift the country's economic policies and introduce changes such as a ban on oil exploration.


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