Petro allowed to run for president

Socialist Gustavo Petro is allowed to run for president, despite his past as a guerrilla and the fact he served time in prison, Colombian electoral authorities ruled.

The National Election Council (CNE) rejected a request by coalition Representative Orlando Parada who claimed that Petro’s candidacy violated a section of the Colombian Constitution that had been updated last year, which prevents the registration of candidates “who have been convicted, at any time, for the commission of crimes that affect the patrimony of the state, or who have been convicted of crimes related to the membership, promotion, or financing of illegal armed groups.”

Petro is a former member of the guerilla group Movimiento 19 de Abril (M-19) and once served jail time for the crime of carrying illegal weapons.

However, the CNE found that a blanket amnesty issued by the government twenty years ago pardoned former members of M-19 for their crimes, and that Petro’s crime in particular was not directly related to his membership of the group.

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