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Colombia holds the first round of its presidential election on Sunday 29 May in a vote that is seen as a key test of the country’s democratic institutions and could result in a major shift in local and regional foreign policy. In this election preview we include a brief on the main candidates contesting the vote, an outline of how the election works, a chartpack of the latest opinion polling, technical analysis of the Colombian peso, scenario analysis with MNI Political Risk team’s outcome probabilities, and a round-up of sell-side reports on the election.

Executive Summary

  • Leftist candidate Gustavo Petro is seen as overwhelmingly likely to make the second-round run-off on 19 June, with a first-round victory likely out of his reach. He remains the overall favourite for the Colombian presidency
  • The identity of the second-placed candidate will be crucial. A win for conservative candidate Federico Gutierrez raises the prospect of a Petro presidency, given Gutierrez’s poor second-round polling. However, should outsider populist candidate Rodolfo Hernandez make the second round against Petro polls show that contest as too close to call at present.
  • A win for Petro would be the first for a leftist candidate in Colombia and could see major policy shifts in terms of foreign policy (away from US cooperation), and the economy (higher taxes on dividends and wealth).
  • Given the intense mistrust of Petro (a former M-19 guerilla) from sections of Colombian society on one hand, and on the other Petro’s campaign comments about “a coup against the popular vote”, there is the notable prospect of civil unrest erupting post-election.
Full PDF attached below:

MNI POLITICAL RISK ANALYSIS-Colombia Election Preview.pdf

Chart 1. Colombia Presidential Election Opinion Polling, First Round, % and Trendline

Source: AtlasIntel, CELAG, Guarumo, CNC, Invamer, Mosqueteros, TYSE, Yanhaas,

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