Colombia elects first leftist president in it's history
In much the same way that the massive protests in Chile in 2019, that the government tried unsuccessfully to put down with violence, led to a leftist being elected president, the massive protests in Colombia in 2021, that the government tried unsuccessfully to put down with violence, has led to a leftist being elected president.
(Reuters) - Leftist Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla movement who has vowed profound social and economic change, won Colombia's presidency on Sunday, the first progressive to do so in the country's history.
Petro beat construction magnate Rodolfo Hernandez with an unexpectedly wide margin of some 719,975 votes. The two had been technically tied in polling ahead of the vote.
Petro, a former mayor of capital Bogota and current senator, has pledged to fight inequality with free university education, pension reforms and high taxes on unproductive land. He won 50.5% to Hernandez's 47.3%.
Petro's proposals - especially a ban on new oil projects - have startled some investors, though he has promised to respect current contracts.
Petro has promised to fully implement a 2016 peace deal with FARC rebels. The current right-wing government has very deliberately violated this peace deal in order to maintain control through violence.
Hernandez ran on an anti-corruption platform, but that was undermined by the fact that he was under an investigation over allegations he intervened in a trash management tender to benefit a company his son lobbied for.
Petro's running mate Francia Marquez, a single mother and former housekeeper, will be the country's first Afro-Colombian woman vice-president
Every major country from Mexico to Antarctica, except for Brazil, has now elected a center-left to leftist government. Plus, Brazil will have a presidential election in October, and center-leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been leading the polls by a landslide margin for more than a year.
Only mid-sized countries like Uruguay, Paraguay, and Ecuador have right-wing governments now.
In more good news for the left, although not nearly as definitive, a leftist coalition in France has denied neoliberal President Macron from winning a majority in the National Assembly.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his allies on Sunday lost their absolute majority in the National Assembly and with it control of the reform agenda, a crushing outcome for the newly re-elected president.
For sure, Macron's centrist Ensemble! alliance were set to end up with the most seats in Sunday's election, followed by the left-wing Nupes bloc headed by the hard left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon, initial projections showed....
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the outcome a "democratic shock" and said they would reach out to all pro-Europeans to help govern the country.
"The rout of the presidential party is complete and there is no clear majority in sight," Melenchon told cheering supporters.
The media wants to focus on the right-wing Le Pen, but it was the Left that made the biggest gains.
The left had only 60 seats in the last legislature, but will now have at least 150 seats.