Colombia’s traditional ruling class surprisingly joined forces to fend off an anti-establishment presidential candidate and mounting claims of fraud.
Fierce campaigning by anti-corruption candidate Gustavo Petro has forged a pragmatic alliance between old rivals in the country’s exclusive political elite.
Mounting evidence, however, indicates that some of the 7.569,693 votes Duque received were obtained through fraud.
During the election race, Petro has not just been taking up his conservative rival, but the entire political system that has been wrecked by corruption and clientelism.
Duque is supported by a collection of powerful families, some of which have been in or around power since the country officially became a republic 200 years ago.
The conservative candidate and his political allies accuse Petro of being a communist and inciting class hatred.
The anti-corruption candidate’s campaign has been met with far-right violence. Leftist protesters have disrupted campaign rallies of hard-right former President Alvaro Uribe.
They scare you with communism, as they did with [political icon Jorge Liecer] Gaitan, while those [corrupt politicians] with ties to drug trafficking continue to govern.
Election observers and think tanks have warned about hate speech and disinformation, and have urged to be allowed to revise the allegedly falsified voting forms.
The elites and their representatives in the state, however, line up behind Duque. “He is the most convenient option for the country,” one liberal told newspaper El Tiempo.
Protests have been announced before the National Registrar’s Office in Bogota for Thursday.
The Liberal Party was one of the few establishment parties that supported an ongoing peace process that has been vehemently opposed by Duque’s coalition.
Petro’s urge to continue the peace process could have far-reaching consequences for powerful families that have been linked to war crimes. Dozens of congressmen have been sent to prison in the past decade because of their ties to paramilitary death squads.
More than 200 social leaders have been assassinated since peace with the FARC was signed in 2016, much to the concern of the United Nations.
Many of Colombia’s guerrilla groups of the past 60 years were formed as a consequence of election rigging and elite family’s undemocratic control of the country’s state system.