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Petro Wins Presidency As Colombia Shifts Left For First Time

COLOMBIA

For the first time in the nation's democratic history, Colombia has elected an avowedly leftist president as the 'Pink Tide Mk.II' of left-wing leaders coming to power in Latin America continues at pace.

  • Provisional results show that the former Bogota Mayor Petro defeated his opponent, populist construction magnate Rodolfo Hernandez in the 19 June second round run-off by the narrow margin of 50.4% to 47.3%.
  • Petro's campaign promised an overhaul of the functions and structure of the Colombian economy that is likely to spook investors (today is a public holiday in Colombia so markets re-open on 21 June).
  • The loss of power for the country's moderate, conservative elite is not only likely to cause concern among investors, but for the Biden administration in Washington, D.C. For decades, Colombia has been the US' closest ally in Latin America, supporting the US' 'War on Drugs' and acting as a key conduit between LatAm gov'ts and Washington.
  • However, this relationship is likely to come to a juddering halt under a Petro presidency, leaving the US with few friends and a sharply declining influence in the region. China is already a major trading partner with LatAm, and Beijing's influence in a continent that the US has historically viewed as within its sphere of influence is likely to grow further with Petro in charge of the region's fourth-largest economy.
  • The strong aversion by a sizeable section of Colombian society to the political left, and Petro in particular with his history of leftist guerrilla action could see opposition to the new president emerge. This could come both at the civil level and within the country's political and social institutions, ensuring that political risks are likely to remain high in Colombia for some time.
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For the first time in the nation's democratic history, Colombia has elected an avowedly leftist president as the 'Pink Tide Mk.II' of left-wing leaders coming to power in Latin America continues at pace.

  • Provisional results show that the former Bogota Mayor Petro defeated his opponent, populist construction magnate Rodolfo Hernandez in the 19 June second round run-off by the narrow margin of 50.4% to 47.3%.
  • Petro's campaign promised an overhaul of the functions and structure of the Colombian economy that is likely to spook investors (today is a public holiday in Colombia so markets re-open on 21 June).
  • The loss of power for the country's moderate, conservative elite is not only likely to cause concern among investors, but for the Biden administration in Washington, D.C. For decades, Colombia has been the US' closest ally in Latin America, supporting the US' 'War on Drugs' and acting as a key conduit between LatAm gov'ts and Washington.
  • However, this relationship is likely to come to a juddering halt under a Petro presidency, leaving the US with few friends and a sharply declining influence in the region. China is already a major trading partner with LatAm, and Beijing's influence in a continent that the US has historically viewed as within its sphere of influence is likely to grow further with Petro in charge of the region's fourth-largest economy.
  • The strong aversion by a sizeable section of Colombian society to the political left, and Petro in particular with his history of leftist guerrilla action could see opposition to the new president emerge. This could come both at the civil level and within the country's political and social institutions, ensuring that political risks are likely to remain high in Colombia for some time.