Conservative newcomer wins Colombia’s presidential election

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Bogota, June 18 (IANS) Conservative political newcomer Ivan Duque has been elected President of Colombia, a media report said on Monday.

Duque, 41, garnered 10.3 million votes or about 53.98 per cent of the ballot on Sunday, while his rival Gustavo Petro secured 8 million or about 41.81 per cent, reports Efe news.

“With humility and with honour I want to tell the Colombian people that I will give all my energies to unite our country: no more divisions, let’s think of a country with all and for all,” Duque said in a speech to his supporters here on Sunday night after acknowledging the elections’ results.

He added that for him, “there are no defeated citizens” because he wants to be the President of all Colombians: those who voted for him, those who did not and those who opted for a blank vote.

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Duque, who is due to take office on August 2 and whose term would last until August 2, 2022, further highlighted the need for Colombia to “unite” and “build” the country to prevent the future of all Colombians from getting “destroyed”.

The orthodox economist, who is supported by former President Alvaro Uribe, has said he will overhaul the 2016 agreement which gave the rebels places in Congress, reports the BBC.

He has also said that he will revisit crimes allegedly committed by the rebels during the brutal five-decade conflict with the government.

Incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos telephoned Duque to congratulate him on his victory.

“I called Ivan Duque to congratulate him and wish him the best of luck. I offered the government’s full cooperation to ensure an orderly and calm transition,” Santos tweeted.

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Meanwhile, Petro, a former Bogota mayor, accepted defeat on Sunday evening.

“Eight million free Colombians taking a stand. There is no defeat here. For now we won’t be the government,” he tweeted.

Petro’s campaign featured promises about creating a more equal society and ensuring people have access to health and education.

He also pledged to take on political elites and redistribute land to the poor.

–IANS

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