Colombian presidential race headed for runoff news

Leftist candidate Gustavo Petro, with 40 percent of the vote, will face businessman Rudolf Hernandez in the second round on June 19.

Colombia’s leftist candidate Gustavo Petro came out on top in Sunday’s first round of presidential elections and will face a surprise contender in the second round on June 19 – businessman Rudolf E. Hernandez.

Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrilla movement who had promised profound economic and social change, had 40.3 percent of the vote, with a tally of 96.2 percent, state registry statistics showed.

Hernandez, the former mayor of Bucaramanga in his seventies, won 28.1 percent of the vote.

The 62-year-old former mayor of Bogot√°, Petro, has been leading the polls, promising to redistribute pensions, provide free public universities and fight deep inequality.

He has pledged to fully implement the 2016 peace deal with the FARC rebels, and has sought peace talks with the still-active ELN rebels and halted all new oil and gas development.

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