Petro defeated construction giant Rodolfo Hernandez in the presidential runoff by more than 700,000 votes.
Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M-19 rebel movement who had promised profound social and economic change, won Colombia’s presidency, defeated Construction mogul Rudolf Hernandez.
On Sunday, Petro won 50.5 percent of the vote, while Hernandez won 47.3 percent, a margin of more than 700,000 votes. The two were technically tied in the pre-vote polls.
The former mayor of the capital Bogota and current senator Petro Petro has pledged to fight inequality through free university education, pension reform and high taxes on unproductive land.
His proposals – including a ban on new oil projects – have alarmed some investors, despite his promise to respect current contracts.
Petro, 62, praised the “first mass victory” in a social media post.
“Today is the day of the people. Let’s celebrate the first universal victory,” he tweeted.
Soon after, Hernandez conceded defeat.
“Colombian, the majority of citizens today chose another candidate. As I said during the campaign, I accept the results of this election,” Hernandez said in a video on social media.
Supporter Alejandro Forero, 40, cried during the Petro campaign celebrations in Bogota.
“Finally, thank God. I know he’s going to be a good president, and he’s going to help us vulnerable people. It’s going to be better,” said Forero, who is unemployed.
The race was Petro’s third for president, and his victory added the Andean country to the list of Latin American nations that have elected progressives in recent years.
Petro’s running mate, Francia Marquez, a single mother and former housekeeper, will become the country’s first Afro-Colombian female vice president.
“Today I voted for my daughter, who turned 15 two weeks ago, and asked for only one gift: I voted,” security guard Pedro Vargas, 48, said Sunday morning in southwest Bogotá To Petro.”
“I want this man to fulfill my daughter’s hopes, and she has great confidence in his commitment,” added Vargas, who said he doesn’t usually vote.
Petro also pledged to fully implement the 2016 peace deal with FARC insurgents and seek to Still Active ELN Rebels.
He questioned the integrity of the vote count following irregularities in the congressional tally in March, and earlier on Sunday urged voters to check their ballots for any extraneous markings that could invalidate them.
Hernandez, former mayor of Bucaramanga Unexpected contenders in the final And promised to shrink government and fund social programs by stopping corruption.
He also pledged to provide free narcotics to drug addicts to combat drug trafficking.
Despite Hernandez’s anti-corruption rhetoric, Hernandez himself is under investigation for corruption, accusing him of interfering in a waste management tender to benefit a company his son lobbied. He denies wrongdoing.
Defense Minister Diego Morano told reporters on Sunday afternoon that an investigation is underway into the killing of an election volunteer in Guapi, Cauca province.
The registrar said 60 polling places had to be relocated due to heavy rains in some parts of the country.