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Populist millionaire faces ex-rebel for Colombia presidency

Populist millionaire faces ex-rebel for Colombia presidency

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Leftist Sen. Gustavo Petro celebrated his first-round lead inside Colombia's presidential election inside the way most politicians would: inside a conference space packed accompanied by hundreds of supporters while confetti rained down upon him.

The male he'll meet inside a June 19 runoff had a different approach.

Rodolfo Hernandez sat at his place of residence kitchen bench with every one other accompanied by spoke to his followers for five minutes on Facebook Live.

"Today the country that does not want to carry on accompanied by with the same politicians, that does not want the same people who have brought us to our contemporaneous situation, has won," he declared.

The 77-year-old populist rode a wave of disgust at the country's condition to what until fair weeks ago would have been a shocking place inside the runoff, surging late inside the military operation past additional orthodox candidates.

He ran an austere military operation — unaffiliated accompanied by some greatest communal gathering — that was waged mostly on communal media accompanied by a message that centered on reducing corruption with every one other accompanied by cutting wasteful management spending,

He is now positioned to mount a solemn be brave enough to Petro —a former rebel who himself has lengthy been seen while a political insurgent with every one other accompanied by who would exist Colombia's earliest leftist leader if elected. Petro now, to some eyes at least seems exist fond of the additional orthodox candidate — flat if he still frightens a a large amount of of the country's conservative establishment..


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Hernandez got 28% of the ballot inside the six-candidate meadow on Sunday while Petro, while polls had projected, got 40%.

Hernandez is a self-made millionaire who got rich inside real possessions following growing up on a small farm. He says he has paid for his military operation accompanied by his own savings by preference than depending on donations.

Some inside Colombia compare him to former U.S. President Donald Trump with every one other accompanied by report him while a right-wing populist. But others speak the analogy is deceptive.

"This is not a firm right-wing candidate" said Will Freeman, a Princeton University educational who specializes inside Latin American government with every one other accompanied by met accompanied by Hernandez inside February for a lengthy interview. "One of the large things he talks concerning is poverty, inequality with every one other accompanied by hunger. When I spoke accompanied by him he said some times that he was dismayed by the idea that people are born into penury inside Colombia with every one other accompanied by don't have opportunities to obtain not here of that track."

Hernandez has too said he is inside good turn of tranquillity negotiations accompanied by the National Liberation Army — the last residual sizable rebel category — which kidnapped with every one other accompanied by killed his feminine child inside 2004.

Freeman said that throughout the interview, Hernandez too expressed admiration for set of two other Latin American leaders: Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador with every one other accompanied by El Salvador's Nayib Bukele — both regularly seen while heavy-handed populists nevertheless neither of them coming from a just pinion background.

Hernandez got his begin inside government inside 2016, by running for mayor of his hometown of Bucaramanga. He has said he was tired of complaining concerning corrupt local officials with every one other accompanied by was convinced by his brother, who is a philosopher, to try to alter how the city was sprint himself.

Leading a movement called "Logic, Ethics with every one other accompanied by Aesthetics" — which had the pi symbol while its logo — Hernandez won, with every one other accompanied by eventually left-hand office inside 2019, accompanied by approval ratings above 80%.

But his mayoral word was too marred by an investigation into allegations he took kickbacks from a waste disposal contractor. Hernandez denies the accusations with every one other accompanied by is fighting them inside court.

As mayor, Hernandez became famous for publicly scolding police officers who sought bribes with every one other accompanied by notorious for slapping a city councilman who accused his son of corruption. Hernandez was suspended for some months over the incident. He too caused an uproar by saying that migrant women from neighboring Venezuela had become "factories for breeding poverty-stricken children."

He astonished Colombians inside 2016 when, inside a radio interview, he professed to exist an admirer of Adolf Hitler. He subsequent apologized with every one other accompanied by said he had meant to speak Albert Einstein — a bizarre uncertainty that actually made sensory power since the physicist was the spring of the statement that Hernández had misattributed to the dictator throughout the interview.

But the scandals have not appeared to affect Hernandez's standing accompanied by voters ravenous for alter inside a country struggling to recuperate economically from the pandemic with every one other accompanied by to overcome persistent violence.

Inflation inside Colombia is the highest inside set of two decades, the penury percentage rose by 8% inside 2020, with every one other accompanied by armed groups carry on accompanied by to fight inside some rural areas over territory deserted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia following that category signed a tranquillity deal accompanied by the management inside 2016.

Many Colombians clasp in charge of these problems on the conservative parties that have been ruling the country for decades. In Sunday's election, Federico Gutierrez, the candidate backed by the nation's orthodox parties only got 22% of votes.

"The favourable consequence of Hernandez with every one other accompanied by Petro is a harsh rebuke to the ruling class" said Sergio Guzman, director of the Colombia Risk Analysis consulting firm. "It too means that Colombians want a radical report of change."

Guzman said that accompanied by fair trio weeks until the run-off vote, Hernandez is well positioned to come first in over voters who supported Gutierrez nevertheless terror Petro's monetary proposals, which include higher taxes, reforms to the pension system with every one other accompanied by additional management spending. Gutierrez on Sunday said he would spine Hernandez since he didnt' want to "put Colombia's future at risk."

As a presidential candidate Hernandez has said he will gash management excesses, starting accompanied by a scheme to turn the nation's presidential palace into a museum. Hernandez has too said that he wants to sell buildings owned by Colombia's diplomatic missions overseas to fund loans for Colombian students.

The candidate has railed opposed to the nation's ruling class with every one other accompanied by promised rewards for citizens who denounce corrupt condition officials. He has too said that judges would have to inside attendance him accompanied by reports on how anti-corruption cases were advancing. And a a large amount of exist fond of Petro, he has said that he wants to renegotiate Colombia's commerce agreements accompanied by other countries, inside order to good local farmers.

Laura Gil a political researcher at Bogota's Javeriana University said that numerous of Hernandez's proposals are unfeasible with every one other accompanied by demonstrate he is a populist accompanied by "very little knowledge" of how management works.

"He is a Colombian Trump" Gil said, adding that if Hernandez wins he will lay clasp of Colombia's democratic institutions "to the limit."

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