With 95.10% of the votes counted, Gaviria won 37.65% of the votes, trailed immediately by Perez with 34.89%. Federico Guitierrez came in third place with 18.97%.
The victory comes after one of the most overheated electoral races in Colombia that until the very end was too close to call for any of the pollsters.
Outgoing mayor Alonso Salazar and electoral observers accused the Perez campaign of using Medellin’s powerful urban gangs to intimidate voters into voting for the controversial ex-mayor with Perez striking back accusing both Salazar and Gaviria of having ties to members of the Oficina de Envigado, a criminal organization once founded by Pablo Escobar and later run by paramilitary leader “Don Berna.”
In his race against Perez, Gaviria received the support of Medellin’s two largest newspapers; El Mundo, owned by his family, and El Colombiano, traditionally a Conservative Party newspaper. Both newspapers prominently published editorials endorsing Gaviria and his political ally Sergio Fajardo, who was voted governor of Antioquia in a landslide.
The Green Party candidate and former mayor of Medellin received 50.46% of the votes, beating his opponents Alvaro Vasquez and Don Mario Estrada.
Gaviria is the son of one of Colombia’s most powerful political, business and publishing dynasties. Gaviria initially focused on a career in journalism, finding employment with his family’s newspaper – the influential liberal daily El Mundo. Following the 2003 murder of his brother, who was serving as the governor of Antioquia, Gaviria took his place. Gaviria proved to be a popular governor. In 2007, he was voted Colombia’s best governor and he left office with sky-high approval ratings of 89%.