The challenges of the next Colombian president

Centrist candidate Federico Gutierrez (right) speaks next to leftist candidate Gustavo Petro (left) in Bogota on May 23, 2022, during the last presidential debate before Colombians start voting to elect their next leader.

(Guillermo Legaria Schweizer/Getty Images)

Colombia’s next president will face challenges including widespread calls for systemic change, a stalled peace deal with guerrilla groups, complex tax reforms and the global energy transition. The country will hold the first round of presidential elections on May 29, followed by the second round on June 19. Left-leaning senator and former Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro has led the polls throughout the campaign, building on last year’s momentum against mass-government protests with pledges to enact sweeping reforms aimed at tackling climate change, poverty and other issues of inequality. Petro’s main opponent is centrist candidate and former mayor of Medellin Federico ”Fico” Gutierrez, who has embraced traditional conservative values ​​but moved away from the more established right-wing ideologies heralded by current President Ivan Duque and his like-minded predecessor Alvaro Uribe. In recent weeks, independent populist Rodolfo Hernandez has also risen in the polls as the third candidate, fueled by…

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