Candidates in Colombia have rounded up their campaigns over the weekend, ahead of the May 29 Presidential elections in which leftwing hopeful Gustavo Petro is expected to win, according to most polls.
Petro summed up his campaign in a crowded Plaza de Bolivar, in Bogotá, during which he insisted on the need for change. We are in the libertarian Bogotá, in the democratic Bogotá, in the Bogotá that has always raised the flag of justice and rights, said Petro, who said that it is in love and not in hate where we can find unity.
He also recalled his meeting several months ago in the Vatican with Pope Francis, when he quoted the encyclical Fratelli Tutti and pointed out that there is political love, which is love for the poor, love for the weakest person and for the excluded.
Federico Gutiérrez, the right-wing candidate who is second in voting intentions, closed his campaign in Medellín under heavy rain which spoilt his rally. Nevertheless, he once again insisted on free education for the poor and on his desire to unite the country. We are going to win the Presidency to unite, promised Gutiérrez, warning that the important thing here is to stop hate speeches.
Independent candidate Rodolfo Hernández said in a video appearance before his followers gathered in the town of Piedecuesta that we are tired of waiting for everything that politicians promise us and do not deliver anything.
We are tired of all the failures, but this tiredness is not a defeat because we are going to vote against all those thieves on May 29 and we will get them out of the government, he stressed.
Sergio Fajardo, of the Centro Esperanza Coalition, underlined that I have pointed out time and again that I am here to make different politics; I am not going to participate in the destruction of Colombia, I am not going to incite confrontation, but we must call attention because what is happening is serious.
Effective Monday under Colombian electoral law, candidates will no longer be able to attend any more political rallies, it will be time for the debates which have already been announced by several media outlets.
At the same time, Colombians living abroad are already beginning to cast their votes. A total of 972,764 Colombians are qualified to exercise their right to vote abroad, of whom 529,087 are women and 443,677 are men, who will be able to vote in 1,343 voting tables that will be installed in 250 voting stations in 67 countries, said the Registrar's Office.
I clarify that the elections cannot be canceled or postponed, according to our regulations. The electoral process starts from the table that is opened today at the New Zealand Consulate, Registrar's Office Chief Alexander Vega explained.
President Iván Duque, who is in Switzerland attending the World Economic Forum, endorsed Vega's words: Here no one can think that elections will be suspended or that coups d'état will take place; I have been a democrat, I am a democrat, I have denounced dictators..
Petro, candidate of the Historic Pact, a concoction of leftwing organizations, had raised doubts about the electoral process.