Ivan Duque wins Colombia presidential election
With 99.45% of total votes counted, rightist candidate gets more than half of votes in 2nd round of presidential race
By Santiago Serna Duque
Ivan Duque of the rightist Democratic Center Party won Colombia's second presidential run-off on Sunday.
Duque is now elected as the new chief of state for the 2018-2022 period.
He garnered 53.95 percent of the votes (more than 10.3 million votes), according to the data released by the National Registry of Colombia, with 99.45% of the total votes counted.
His contender, leftist Gustavo Petro from Colombia Humana Movement, got 41.83 percent of the votes.
Duque, 41, has become the youngest popularly elected as president in Colombian history.
The president-elect said during his campaign that as a way to foment economic growth in the country, private enterprises need to be promoted, while the tax system has to be adjusted in order for small enterprises to become legal entities.
He also promised that during his tenure, tax evasion as well as value-added tax will be reduced by 50 percent.
On the peace accord signed between the administration of outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC rebels in November 2016, Duque said that the leaders of the FARC should be sent to jail and lose all benefits they obtained by the Special Justice for Peace legislation.
During the presidential debates, Duque highlighted that he “will not allow Colombia to turn into a second Venezuela”, a country that is suffering from a strong socioeconomic crisis, which has led to a hyperinflation of 2,616 percent, and forced over two million people to emigrate.
The promise that Colombia will take a different route than Venezuela was one of his campaign's main selling points.
His political godfather, former president Alvaro Uribe Velez, won the presidential elections of 2002 and 2006 on the first round.
Until now, the only important political post that Duque has occupied was that of senator, after winning a bench during the 2014 elections, backed by Uribe Velez.
*Ahmed Fawzi Mostefai contributed to this story