Former FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt withdraws presidential candidacy in Colombia

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Former senator Ingrid Betancourt, who was held hostage by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for more than six years, announced that she withdrew her candidacy for president of Colombia less than a month before the election. Presidential elections take place on the 29th.

Betancourt made the announcement on Instagram, saying he had decided to resign so as not to split the votes for a centrist candidate and hoping that Rodolfo Hernández could make it to the second round of elections.

Both Betancourt and Hernández come from the center of the Colombian political spectrum, and this year’s presidential race so far has been dominated by the two extremist candidates, leftist Gustavo Petro and rightist Federico ‘Fico’ Gutiérrez.

In Colombia, the two candidates with the most votes in the first round move to the second round, scheduled for June 19.

In his speech, Betancourt called on other centrists to join Hernández’s campaign, saying this is the best chance to get a centrist candidate to the second round.

“This is the campaign that will lead us to victory. I appeal to all the people at the center, who think about not voting or voting null: let’s unite!” she said.

Hernández is a former mayor of Bucaramanga and was unknown to much of the Colombian electorate until he entered the race for the presidency this year.

His campaign has been compared to those of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro for their opposition to the traditional political parties that have dominated Colombian politics for the past 60 years.

Left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro is the favorite to win the first round, with around 40% of the vote, according to the latest polls. Gutierrez and Hernandez are seen as the best placed to join him in the second round.

Source: CNN Brasil

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