2022 Colombian presidential election

Article

July 5, 2022

The Colombian presidential election of 2022 is held on May 29, 2022 to elect the President of the Republic of Colombia for four years. Incumbent President Iván Duque is not eligible for a second term, as the Colombian constitution limits the head of state to a single term. The presidential election of May 2022 also follows the legislative elections, organized on the previous March 13, by a few months. The first round saw Gustavo Petro and Rodolfo Hernández come out on top, who faced off in the second round. The qualification in the second round of Hernández Suárez is then a surprise, the candidate having led almost the entire campaign in third position in the opinion polls, before overtaking Federico Gutiérrez in the last week preceding the election. Gustavo Petro in turn thwarts the polls and wins in the second round, thus becoming the first Colombian president from the left.

Context

The presidential election of May 2018 saw the victory in the second round of Iván Duque, who won nearly 54% of the vote. His opponent Gustavo Petro brings together 41%, while 4% of voters choose to vote blank, a vote officially recognized in the count of votes in Colombia. He takes office on August 7, 2018. Coming third in the first round, Sergio Fajardo had publicly announced his intention to vote white, his Green Alliance party calling to do the same or to vote for Gustavo Petro. Between 2019 and 2020, Colombia experienced large-scale anti-government demonstrations, interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. A series of demonstrations resumed in September 2020 against police violence, followed by massive demonstrations in 2021. The repression of these three protest movements left around 100 dead, while President Iván Duque's popularity rate fell to 20% current January 2022.

Electoral system

The President of the Republic is elected by uninominal majority ballot in two rounds for a non-renewable term of four years. Is elected the candidate having gathered the absolute majority in the first round or, failing that, the one having gathered the most votes during a second round organized between the two candidates who came first in the first. Colombia recognizes blank votes as valid votes, included in the calculation of the results. The candidate who wins the second round can therefore be declared elected with a percentage of the votes cast below 50%. In addition, if the total of blank votes reaches the absolute majority of “valid” votes, a new ballot is held in which the previous candidates cannot stand again. However, this provision does not apply twice in a row: during this new election, the candidate having received the most votes in the second round is declared elected regardless of the percentage of blank votes. Any person who is at least thirty years old and holds Colombian nationality by birth can run for the presidency. Each candidate for the presidency presents himself with a running mate, candidate for the post of vice-president. Since the constitutional reform of 2015, the unsuccessful candidate in the second round becomes an ex officio member of the Senate and his running mate becomes an ex officio member of the House of Representatives.

Campaign

Gustavo Petro

The economist and former mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro, already a candidate for the 2018 presidential election, leads the voting intentions in the opinion polls. A victory would make him the first president of Colombia from the left. Victorious in the primary organized on March 13, 2022 by the Historic Pact coalition to appoint its presidential candidate, Petro was already perceived as the big favorite. His political party, Colombia Humana