In the run as much as Colombia’s presidential election, Federico Gutiérrez, a right-wing candidate, is supported by a conservative alliance much like the one which helped propel the present president to workplace.
But that is maybe Mr. Gutiérrez’s largest downside.
The presidential race has more and more turn into a demand for a sharp break from what many Colombians think about President Ivan Duque’s failed insurance policies, which have made him one of the most unpopular leaders in Colombia’s current historical past.
The nation is dealing with a raft of challenges. Armed group violence in rural areas has surged, power issues like poverty and inequality have deepened throughout the pandemic and mass anti-government protests final summer time resulted in accusations of severe human rights abuses in opposition to state safety forces.
Mr. Gutiérrez, 47, who is broadly often called Fico, has struggled to forged himself as a change from Mr. Duque, whereas nonetheless working to shore up the assist he wants from the nation’s right-wing base.
“It’s very difficult to walk that line,” mentioned Arlene Tickner, a professor at Universidad de Rosario in Bogotá.
Mr. Gutiérrez, a civil engineer, was born into a center class household in the nation’s coffee-growing area and gained political prominence as the broadly well-liked mayor of Medellín, Colombia’s second largest metropolis and a conservative stronghold.
He has promised to extend international funding, enhance financial progress, combat corruption, tighten safety and enhance the lives of poor folks.
“What we have to do is work to get people out of poverty and provide them opportunities,” he advised The New York Times.
Mr. Gutiérrez has managed to realize traction partially by positioning himself as a steady various to Gustavo Petro, a former insurgent and longtime face of the opposition, who has held a regular lead in polls and is in search of to turn into the nation’s first leftist president.
Mr. Gutiérrez has tried to stoke the fears of conservative Colombians frightened about what a Petro presidency would imply, warning that “democracy is at risk.”
In a Twitter publish alluding to Mr. Petro’s marketing campaign slogan, “change for life,” Mr. Gutiérrez wrote, “Change cannot mean a leap into the void without a parachute.”
Mr. Gutiérrez has trailed Mr. Petro in polls, and his maintain on second place has slipped in current days as one other right-wing candidate, Rodolfo Hernández, a businessman and populist, has surged. A runoff can be held subsequent month amongst the prime two finishers if a candidate doesn’t obtain greater than 50 p.c of the vote.
Mr. Gutiérrez’s line of assault in opposition to Mr. Petro has resonated with voters like Juan Sebastián Rey, a 21-year-old political organizer in Medellín.
Electing Mr. Petro to the presidency, he mentioned, can be “playing with the democracy of the country.”
Sofía Villamil and Julie Turkewitz contributed reporting from Bogotá.