Weekly Report - 26 May 2022 (WR-22-21)

Hernández threatens to upend Colombian presidential race

As the presidential race enters the closing straight, a major upset is looking like a distinct possibility. Signs that the populist anti-system candidate, Rodolfo Hernández, was making a late surge [WR-22-20] were borne out by the final electoral surveys published, in accordance with electoral law, one week before the first round on 29 May. These showed Federico Gutiérrez, the candidate of the right-wing Equipo por Colombia, in second place but static; Hernández, by contrast, has doubled his support to be sitting on Gutiérrez’s shoulder. If he passes Gutiérrez it would be a big blow for Gustavo Petro, the long-time frontrunner for the left-wing Pacto Histórico. Petro has thrived in a polarised campaign focused on presenting Gutiérrez as the continuity candidate, while he offers change to Colombian voters disillusioned with the political class; he would lose all of these advantages against Hernández, who would also be able to tap into strong anti-Petro sentiment on the right.

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