Humiliating defeat for socialism in Colombia: Gustavo Petro loses decisively in local elections

President Gustavo Petro did not win any important mayoral elections in the country, while the right advanced forcefully.

The results of the local elections this Sunday, October 29, in Colombia exceeded all the expectations of the opposition to socialist president Gustavo Petro. The candidates of the president's party failed in all the main metropolitan areas of the country and the right, or the center, returned to power in full force.

Many Colombians considered these elections to be particularly important because, by voting for governors, mayors, and departmental assemblies, Petro's opponents could prevent the advancement of the president's proposals and projects. The idea that these regional elections were a kind of referendum on the Petro Government – ​​which has only been in power for a little over a year – was widely shared.

The most significant blow to Petrism was its defeat in Bogotá, historically a bastion of the president—and of the Colombian left. Petro's candidate in the capital of Colombia, Gustavo Bolívar, did not even reach second place, and, on the other side of the aisle, the centrist leader Carlos Fernando Galán won with more than 20 points of advantage in the first round.

There are runoff elections in Bogotá —unless the winner exceeds 40% of the vote and takes more than 10 points over second place (which, in this case, is the center-right Juan Daniel Oviedo).

Galán, of the New Liberalism party and son of the renowned assassinated politician Luis Carlos Galán, became the elected mayor of Bogotá with 49% of the votes.

In Medellín, the second most important city in Colombia, the right-wing candidate and former presidential candidate Federico Gutiérrez won decisively.

Gutiérrez, who received the support of former President Álvaro Uribe, garnered more than 73% of the votes, while in second place, with 9.93% of the votes, was the Petrism candidate, Juan Carlos Upegui.

The results were not any different in the other large cities of Cali, Barranquilla or Cartagena.

In the case of Cali, the third biggest city in Colombia, businessman Álvaro Eder won (with 41%), while Petrista Denis Renteria came in third place, with 11% of the votes.

Dumek Turbay, also from the New Liberalism party, beat the Petrista, Javier Bejarano, with more than 27 points in the city of Cartagena.

Barranquilla also remained in the hands of the right: Alejandro Char, a renowned anti-Petrista leader, obtained 73% of the votes, while the second place barely achieved 9%.

"The implosion of the Pact[Petro's party] is the resurrection of our country. Today Colombia is growing, it is the defeat of violence and anarchy," Senator María Fernanda Cabal, one of the strongest anti-Petrist voices in Colombia, said on X (formerly Twitter).