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Colombia election results: Fico Gutiérrez and the risk of recognizing himself as “Uribe’s candidate” | International

Colombian presidential candidate Federico Gutiérrez celebrates in Bogotá, on March 13, 2022.
Colombian presidential candidate Federico Gutiérrez celebrates in Bogotá, on March 13, 2022.DANIEL MUNOZ (AFP)

Frederick phyco Gutiérrez is since Sunday night the most solid presidential candidate of the Colombian right. Although it is not the first time that his name has appeared on an electoral card – he was a councilor and mayor of Medellín – his first test in national elections, where he won more than two million votes within the Team for Colombia coalition, places him as a coveted candidate of the conservative movements or of those who get scared when they think of a left-wing presidency. phyco (Medellín, 47 years old), as he is known, is since last night and for now, the main opponent of Gustavo Petro, who with the Historical Pact movement was one of the winners of the election day that defined who will be the representatives of the three major political forces.

The presidential campaign is just beginning and that the former mayor of Medellín manages to be the true counterweight of the petrism It will depend on the alliances and negotiations that you forge from now on. Not only will he have to unite the entire right under his name, but he will have to conquer part of the electorate of the center, which on Sunday was deflated and without notable leadership. To do this, he would need to continue avoiding, as he has done so far, appearing in the same photo with former President Álvaro Uribe. Today, for the first time in 20 years, the open support of Uribismo instead of adding, could subtract. “Federico Gutiérrez faces a dilemma. He needs to make an alliance with the Democratic Center (CD) -Uribe’s party- but at the same time he will have to convince the center, which has to decide where it is going,” says Yann Basset, analyst and professor at the Universidad del Rosario.

On the way to an alliance with the CD, where Uribismo is concentrated, this Monday phyco He already got his first conquest. The candidate of that party until this Monday, former presidential candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga, stepped aside, recognized his few chances of competing with him and offered his support. Now we will have to see if the entire Uribe community, which has been left without a representative, does the same. Especially if Uribe openly supports him and tries to convince his electorate with the classic themes of the Colombian right, something that will not be so difficult for him. His speech of “security”, “order”, “opportunities” and “love of the country” already showed him that he adds votes. He verified it this Sunday with the electoral consultation, as he did before during his tenure as mayor of the capital of Antioquia, where he was known as the sheriff of Medellin. “Bandits in jail or in a grave,” he said recently during a visit to Arauca, an area especially hit by violence. phyco he knows well what the Colombian right wing likes, but it will not be enough for him.

“We are not in 2018, when the fear of the left worked well, this time the electorate is not moved by fear,” says Basset. According to the analyst, the fact that the figure of Álvaro Uribe is no longer that of the absolute leader that the country had seen since 2002, when he was elected president for the first time, and that his party, the CD, is going through a bad time , could make phyco avoid receiving, at least openly, Uribe’s blessing. Although this does not mean that the votes of Uribismo, even if they are under the table, are not essential to Gutiérrez, as happened this Sunday or as happened in his first attempt to become mayor of Medellín, when Uribe even supported him above your party’s candidate. “This victory [ganar en la coalición] it is also due to Uribeism. Now his ability as a negotiator will be measured: to convince the right, but not to spend everything on that alliance”, warns Basset. About that relationship between the former president and phycothe analyst Andrés Mejía Vergnaud remarks “the great difficulty of Federico Gutiérrez is that he wants the votes of Uribismo, but without the photo with Uribe because it is not convenient for him to be their candidate”.

While on the left there is a single leader, Gustavo Petro, on the right there is still a man who is heading towards the presidential elections, unless phyco -again, if you manage to negotiate-, convince him to step aside and give him your support. Rodolfo Hernández, who launched independently, is still in contention. The former mayor of Bucaramanga, builder and millionaire, who has managed to position himself very well in the polls thanks to his speech against corruption in casual language, is a man that Gutiérrez will have to include in his list of conquests if he wants to fight the petrism.

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Gutiérrez has a lot to sit down to negotiate before even thinking of names for his possible presidential ticket, but what he already has is the support of the other candidates who were vying for leadership in the Team for Colombia coalition. And it is not little. He has at his side two former mayors, Enrique Peñalosa (Bogotá) and Álex Char (Barranquilla); the leader of the Conservative party, David Barguil, and a woman, Aydeé Lizarazo, from a Christian party, who is accustomed to judiciously voting as ordered from the lectern of her church.

In addition to the strengthened Conservative Party -it achieved the largest vote of the right-wing forces for Congress with more than two million votes-, it has the sympathy of the Partido de La U, which also had an outstanding vote in the legislative elections with little more than one million votes. The support of Óscar Iván Zuluaga, who did not let many hours go by after Sunday’s elections, to assume his defeat in a possible confrontation for the votes of the right, gives a new impetus to phyco in a sector of conservatism, but distances it a little more from possible votes of the center. What former President Álvaro Uribe says, who summoned his party to a meeting this Tuesday, will be the definitive point to know if phyco He risks his chances in the center in exchange for being openly blessed by Uribe.

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