Federico Gutiérrez is the main right-wing candidate in Colombia, after winning this Sunday the referendum of the Equipo por Colombia coalition, the alliance that brought together the most conservative sector. With just over 94% of polling stations counted, the former mayor of Medellin prevails with 54.18% against Alejandro Char’s 17.61% and David Barguil’s 15.75%, his two closest rivals.
phyco (Medellín, 47 years old) came to the race through signatures, but his name today is consolidated as the right-wing alternative, where he will have to seduce the electorate of the Democratic Center (CD), the party of former president Álvaro Uribe. And he has everything to get it. The bad moment that the CD is going through, the Uribista movement, with Óscar Iván Zuluga as a candidate and without new leadership, places it as the ace up Uribe’s sleeve, who since he left the presidency in 2010 has been the main voter. Four years ago Iván Duque won, in large part, for having been chosen by the former president.
“We receive this victory with humility,” said Federico Gutiérrez, after hearing the results that place him as the main rival of the leftist Gustavo Petro in the presidential elections next May. “Order”, “security”, “opportunities” have been the words that he has repeated the most in his speech tonight in Bogotá, and those were also the ones that sounded the most during his campaign. “Let’s defeat the authoritarian projects. We need unity of wills to take care of democracy. Together we are going to move Colombia forward”, assured the former mayor of Medellín.
the victory of phyco This is not surprising, especially since his discourse of “order” and “security” has already demonstrated its effectiveness in the most conservative sector of the country and its region, Antioquia, the cradle of Uribeism. Thus he won the mayor’s office of Medellín, whose administration ended with very high approval ratings. The image of him, of a “street” man, uncomplicated and close to the people has also added points to be the man with whom the rest of the right must negotiate. Federico Gutiérrez has not needed a photo with former President Álvaro Uribe to conquer the right that is used to voting “for whoever Uribe says”, but he has known how to read his voters. “Petro is a risk and he is a danger to democracy. His speech is one of hate and class struggle. I represent the complete opposite of what he represents”, he said in an interview with EL PAÍS.
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One of his main rivals in the consultation on the right, Char, admitted defeat and announced that he will support him. So did the former mayor of Bogotá, Enrique Peñalosa, who was also seeking the right-wing candidacy. “The big question that arises today is what is going to happen to the right. A negotiation is coming, in which Gutiérrez has everything to win”, says Daniel García-Peña, historian and professor at the National University of Colombia. Álvaro Uribe has called a meeting with his party, the Democratic Center, for next Tuesday. The campaign for the presidency of Colombia is just beginning.
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