Duque took to the stage in Bogota minutes after his rival, the leftist Gustavo Petro, admitted his defeat in the second election round and confirmed he would continue to oppose his rival from the senate.
With almost 54% of the vote, the dynasty politician became the second youngest president in the history of Colombia. The country’s youngest president was the 39-year-old Eustorgio Salgar in 1872.
I humbly want to tell the Colombian people that I will give all my energy to unite the country. No more divisions… I want to be the president who gives the same love to those who voted for me to those who did not.
While insisting on pursuing the hard-line agenda that alienated many voters, Duque said that “we must pass the page of polarization, of the grievances.”
And on making highly controversial changes to an ongoing peace process with demobilized FARC guerrillas, the president-elect said: “I don’t recognize enemies in Colombia, I won’t governwith hatred, there is no such thing in my heart or mind.”
“It’s about looking to the future for the good of all Colombians,” he added.
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Duque distanced himself from the president of his political party, far-right politician Fernando Londoño, who had said he would “shred” the FARC peace deal.
The president-elect said he would merely “make modifications so that peace may shine,” even though the imply undoing key elements of the peace deal in regards to justice and political participation.
Peace means turning the page. Today we are among friends who want peace, which must be a peace that allows rank and file guerrillas to return to public life. That peace we long for calls for corrections so that the victims are at the center of the process and we guarantee truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition.
Critics have said Duque will become a mouthpiece for the ex-president Alvaro Uribe, who heavily backed the campaign and tweeted after the result: “God rewards good faith.”
The president-elect has tried to distance himself from his mentor in recent weeks.