Colombia’s security forces have been fighting guerrillas for more than 60 years, but may want to prepare for the possibility that a former guerrilla will become their commander-in-chief.
The latest poll did not just confirm others that put opposition Senator Gustavo Petro in the lead of the 2022 election race, but indicated that the former member of the M-19 rebel group may be unbeatable.
According to pollster Invamer, the progressive candidate has taken such a lead that if elections were held tomorrow, no candidate would stand a chance against Petro.
Ahead of the first round, the progressive candidate would enjoy more than twice the support of the runner up, “extreme centrist” Sergio Fajardo.
Invamer’s first round poll
Petro marginalizes Duque allies
Petro’s lead over candidates associated with former President Alvaro Uribe, the alleged mafia boss of President Ivan Duque, has completely marginalized the candidates of the corruption-ridden government coalition.
Unless the “Uribistas” are able to make peace with their political rivals that make up the liberal opposition, the far-right candidates seem to stand no chance.
Ongoing revelations of the corruption and organized crime activity of Duque’s allies appear to have evaporated public support for the government allies.
Of the Uribistas, only former Barranquilla Mayor Alejandro Char did not lose support, according to Invamer.
Uribe’s son Tomas, who has been pushed forward to protect his family’s allegedly criminal interests, is apparently failing to impress the public despite being hyped by news media close to his family.
Liberal opposition also in crisis
Also the self-proclaimed “extreme centrists” are in crisis as the poll indicates a major shift in the electorate’s political preference.
While Petro’s support would have skyrocketed from 25.9% in August last year to 38.3% this month, support for Fajardo dropped from 20.5% to 15.9%, according to Invamer.
The progressive candidate has consistently urged to join forced with the liberals, claiming together they would be able to secure a decisive victory in the first round of the elections in May last year.
Fajardo and his allies have been stand-offish about teaming up with Petro, a strategy that appears to be failing.
According to Invamer, the collapse of the Uribistas did not spur an electoral shift to the center, but made many leap to the other side of the political spectrum.
Those who identify themselves as politically ideological make up 83% of the electorate. A steady 17% of voters wants nothing to do with any ideology.
Political bias of Colombia’s outspoken electorate
According to Ivamer’s preliminary poll, Petro’s extraordinary rise in popularity has made him all but invincible in a possible second round of elections for all candidates.
The efforts of Duque’s far-right Democratic Center party to stigmatize the opposition Senator as some kind of dangerous socialist doesn’t even appeal to the ruling party’s old base, according to Invamer.
If Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez for some miracle would reach the second round, Petro would defeat Duque’s former running mate with a convincing 56% against 37%.
Ramirez would receive the support of the upper class, but the coronavirus has marginalized this part of the population.
Also Fajardo would also not stand a change, according to Invamer, which said that Petro would defeat his liberal rival with a comfortable 53% against 42%.
Other candidates wouldn’t barely obtain half of the progressive leader who isn’t even allowed access to election campaign funds, according to the notoriously corrupt National Electoral Council.
Plan B: killing a candidate
An electoral victory for Petro would be historic.
The security forces were never able to defeat one rebel group, but did take part in the successful assassination of three presidential candidates.
Presidential candidates’ murders since 1948
Petro survived and assassination attempt ahead of the 2018 elections, unlike late candidates Luis Carlos Galan, Carlos Pizarro and Bernardo Jamarillo in 1990
Activists of the opposition senator’s political movement, Colombia Humana, have already been suffering assassination attempts and liberal lawmakers who have joined the presidential hopeful have received death threats.
Petro’s chances to win the 2022 elections are significant, but so are the chances that the opposition senator will not survive the elections race.
Whether this will keep Duque’s far-right allies in power in uncertain as none would be able to defeat the runner-up in the race, former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo, according to Invamer.