The news is both good and very bad for the candidate who tonight has led the consultation of the center coalition in Colombia, Sergio Fajardo, former mayor of Medellín and former governor of Antioquia. Good because, as the polls predicted, the consultation of the Center of Hope won. Very bad because neither Fajardo nor the central candidates have been able to attract more votes than the rest of the coalitions. The collapse of the center took away the aspirations of Alejandro Gaviria, Juan Manuel Galán and Carlos Amaya, which was the surprise of the night in the coalition.
Among the five candidates from the center, with more than 80% of the votes counted, they only achieved about 1,800,000 votes, while the five from the Historical Pact (left) attracted more than four million, for the three million that the five candidates achieved Team Por Colombia (right).
Fajardo even got far fewer votes than the runners-up in the other two coalitions. The former mayor has fewer votes than the second candidate from the left, Francia Márquez, an environmental activist who had never run for president, while this is the third time that Fajardo has run for the presidency (he did so in 2010 and 2018).
And facing Gustavo Petro, the candidate with the best chance of winning in the presidential elections in May, Fajardo arrives very weak. He has a little more than a quarter of the votes of Petro, whom he hopes to face in a second round. Fajardo also has far fewer votes than Fico Gutiérrez, today’s winner of the coalition on the right, who won three times as many votes in his coalition.
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The electoral defeat of the center comes after several months of division in that coalition, a repeated story of the 2018 elections. At that time, Fajardo was unable to form a coalition with Humberto de La Calle, candidate of the Liberal Party at the time, despite several alliance attempts. In these elections, the center has once again been reluctant to make an alliance with the Liberal Party, but its candidates also made several public scandals about which of all was less patronage or less corrupt. That fight to be the “cleanest” candidate and away from politics cost the center its popularity.
“Colombia is waiting for us to unite it, to change it and to heal it from so many wounds and so much hatred, so much fear, so much anger that has accumulated,” said candidate Fajardo in his victory speech, who will repeat the speech of not polarizing between extremes and not wanting to fall into the dichotomy “between friends and enemies”. He added that the date of the second presidential round, June 19, is also his birthday and there he hopes to win with a “clean, transparent” power.
Fajardo appeared in the victory event along with the other four candidates with whom he competed, a symbol of unity that they have not always managed to have in recent months.
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