The conservative candidate in Colombia’s election race, Ivan Duque, has taken a significant lead over his social democratic opponent, according to the latest poll.
Support for Duque, who is endorsed by the controversial former President Alvaro Uribe, jumped from 6% to 40% of voters between January and March, pollster Yanhaas said on Tuesday.
The support for all other candidates imploded in the Yanhaas poll.
The poll was the first since legislative elections that were held on March 11.
The elections are held as society is deeply divided over an ongoing peace process that followed more than half a century of armed conflict.
Candidates on the left and in the center have promoted anti-corruption measures. Petro, additionally, has called for reforms that would reduce the control of traditional elites over the political system.
The conservatives, who have been associated with corruption by critics, have warned that an election victory for the left could push the country towards communism.
The polarization has led to the violent disruption of leftist election candidates and protests at an “uribista” rally.
First election since peace
Petro is a former member of the now-demobilized M-19 guerrilla group while Uribe is investigated by the Supreme Court for allegedly promoting paramilitary death squads.
The conservatives oppose an ongoing peace process with the FARC that sought the Marxists’ political inclusion and justice for the millions of conflict victims.
However, the smaller ELN guerrilla group and several paramilitary groups continue to be active in the South American country that has struggled to implement peace policies.