We congratulate Progressive International member Gustavo Petro on his election as president of Colombia

For the first time in its history, Colombia will have a left-wing government

Gustavo Petro, a council member of DiEM25’s sister organisation Progressive International, has been elected president of Colombia and Francia Márquez, an environmental and human rights activist, will become the country’s first black vice-president. The Progressive International has been at Petro‘s side throughout the election period to ensure the transparency and validity of the electoral process.

Petro was previously a member of a city guerrilla group before moving into politics. A long-time senator, he won the election by promising to reform the economic system and managing to mobilise voters who had for years been marginalised and plagued by poverty and inequality.

Facing a construction tycoon in his presidential bid, he managed to register a victory with 50.47 percent of the vote, compared to 47.27 percent for his opponent. Petro will take office in August, and will immediately have to work on alleviating public dissatisfaction over the rising cost of living and lack of employment opportunities.

After Peru, Chile and Honduras, the third largest country in Latin America is embarking on a new path, and there are many challenges that the new president will face: deforestation in the Amazon, record migration flows to the US, social polarisation and distrust of institutions. In his first statements after the victory, Petro called for unity, dialogue and understanding. and pledged that there would be no political persecution.

We congratulate Petro and Márquez for this unprecedented triumph. Though this victory belongs to the people of Colombia, it will no doubt inspire millions far beyond its borders, including DiEM25 and MERA25 members and supporters across Europe.

We too can rise up, and we too can win.

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