Towards a decisive alternation in Colombia?

Towards a decisive alternation in Colombia?

Many Colombians yearn for change. These hopes could carry to the presidency, this June 19, the former guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro. In the first round of the election, on May 29, he came out on top with 40.3% of the vote. He is opposed for the second round, and it is the surprise of the ballot, to the populist millionaire Rodolfo Hernández, who arrived in front of the traditional right. This is probably the most important election in Colombia’s recent history. At stake are the country’s institutions, its investor-friendly economic model and the future of the 2016 peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), which ended half a century of civil war.

Social overheating

It is not excluded to witness an outbreak of violence just after the election, as the situation in this country is so explosive. Colombia is in fairly good economic shape, with a GDP per capita which has risen from 1,400 to 6,700 dollars since 1990. Over the same period, the proportion of people of study age entering higher education has almost quadrupled to reach 55%. But Colombia is also one of the most unequal countries in the world. Tax revenues represent only 19% of GDP, compared to 33% on average in OECD countries.

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