Colombia Elects First Leftist President In Its History

LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images

Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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Gustavo Petro was elected as Colombia’s first leftist president Sunday.

Petro ran on a platform of social and economic change. He beat his opponent, entrepreneur Rodolfo Hernandez, by over 700,000 votes, according to Reuters.

Petro was formerly a member of the left-wing M-19 guerrilla movement in Colombia. (RELATED: Former Colombian Guerrilla Fighter And Socialist Says He ‘Would Vote For Biden, Without A Doubt’)

His running mate, Francia Márquez, is set to make history as the country’s first black vice president, according to Axios.

Petro has called for higher taxes on the rich and more social programs, according to The New York Times. He has also vowed to work with the U.S to combat climate change.

“The entire country is begging for change,” a Colombian political scientist told The NYT.

In 2021, thousands of Colombians took to the streets to protest rising poverty and the lack of opportunity in the country.

“Colombians, today the majority of citizens have chosen the other candidate,” Petro’s opponent in the race, Hernandez, told supporters Sunday, adding that he would accept the results of the election, according to The NYT.

Petro will assume office in August.