Colombia’s Center-Left Is Seen Winning 2022’s Presidential Race
(Bloomberg) -- President Ivan Duque’s disapproval rating above 77% and the social and economic crises faced by Colombians in the pandemic will pave the way for a candidate from the center to win in next year’s elections, according to Control Risks.
“The social discontent accumulated in the last few years -- compounded by the pandemic, the corruption and Duque’s political decisions -- is highly likely to change the election’s outcome,” analysts Silvana Amaya and Claudia Navas from risk consultancy Control Risks wrote in a report. “This is likely to give the center-left and left-inclining parties the opportunity to take the presidential office next year.”
Early polls show former guerrilla member and Senator Gustavo Petro leading before the May 2022 vote, signaling the possibility that Colombia will have a leftist leader for the first time. He’s called for an overhaul of the nation’s economic model by cutting its dependence on exports of oil and coal, and wants to distribute a greater share of corporate revenue to workers.
Despite Petro’s popularity, a candidate from the center-left is likely to attract millions of right-wing voters, according to Control Risks. The right is likely to use the crisis in Venezuela as “a fear tactic against leftist policies –- a strategy that has historically shaped the political feelings and opinion of many right-wing voters.”
Former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo has the best chance of winning an internal vote between center-left candidates, according to Control Risks. In the event Fajardo is unable to run, economist Alejandro Gaviria is likely to win, they wrote.
Since 2018, approximately 4 million young citizens have acquired the right to vote, which is “an important number of new voters” who will likely lean for the left or the center-left, they wrote.
“A center-left or leftist leader will have to work with the private sector regardless of the confrontational rhetoric espoused on the campaign trail,” Amaya and Navas said. “It is very unlikely for businesses to face competitiveness challenges in the country, regardless of the elections outcome.”
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