Ivan Duque, presidential candidate for the Democratic Center Party, speaks during the closing campaign rally in Bogota, Colombia. (Photographer: Mauricio Palos/Bloomberg)

Colombia Heads to Runoff as Rightist Wins First Round Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Ivan Duque, an investor-friendly lawyer, whose campaign against a peace accord with Marxist guerrillas has divided Colombians, took first place in the country’s presidential election on Sunday.

Duque, 41, an ally of former President Alvaro Uribe, got 39.1 percent of the vote with 99 percent of polling stations reporting in the May 27 election. In a June 17 runoff he’ll face former guerrilla Gustavo Petro, who got 25.1 percent, presenting voters with a stark choice.

The new president will need to deal with the future of the controversial peace accord that ended a 52-year civil war, soaring cocaine production and a sluggish economy.

Duque, a U.S.-educated former Senator, campaigned against the 2016 peace accord with Marxist rebels, saying it was too lenient to those guilty of serious crimes. He may seek to undermine it in various ways, while Petro backs the deal.

Sergio Fajardo, former Mayor or Medellin, was in third place with 23.8 percent.

Petro, a former Mayor of Bogota, wants to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and mining redistribute land and develop new export markets such as avocados, while Duque is a supporter of oil and mining exploration.

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