Home Tech Legacy of protest? Second presidential round in Colombia between two external candidates.

Legacy of protest? Second presidential round in Colombia between two external candidates.

Legacy of protest? Second presidential round in Colombia between two external candidates.

Cali, Colombia

Before Jhon Hernandez became a voter for the first time last month, he was a frontline protester calling for change. He joined tens of thousands of Colombians last year in demanding stronger social programs and an end to a proposed tax reform as COVID-19 restrictions wreak havoc on the nation’s poor.

This year, Hernández ditched the balaclava that identified him as a protester and instead organized a voter registration drive, convinced that the way forward is not through bigger protests, but through smarter voting.

“Change depends on our vote,” says the community leader, who cast his ballot in a presidential election for the first time this year, despite having been eligible for the past 15 years.

why are we writing this

Colombians marched in massive anti-government protests in 2021. Their unanswered demands for better job opportunities, health care and education are prompting record voters to elect a new president from outside.

He is not alone. More Colombians voted in the first electoral round last month than in any other vote in the last 20 years., spurred in large part by historic street protests. Frustration with the government’s out-of-touch policy proposals, combined with a growing desire for change, has laid the groundwork for the major political shift underway in this weekend’s presidential runoff.

For decades, Colombia has been governed by an elite group of established politicians. But this weekend, two candidates who eschew the status quo face off in what is expected to be a historically close runoff. Both candidates are seen as leaning to the left, even if one is far from a traditional leftist, to meet the demands of the protesters.

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