July 03
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Colombians go to the polls today for the presidential election, which could put a left-wing leader and the first black vice president at the helm of power for the first time in the country's history, The Guardian reported.

Gustavo Petro, a former M-19 guerrilla and senator, has several rivals, but his main rival is Federico Gutierrez, the former mayor of Medellin, Colombia's second city, who heads a right-wing coalition closely tied to the current government of President Ivan Duque.

Rodolfo Hernandez, a business magnate and social media activist, is also quite popular, according to polls.  If neither candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff election in June.

Petro's campaign has received support from a generation of young voters politicized during last year's unprecedented wave of protests.

Meanwhile, Petro's opponents argue that his victory could herald a nationwide collapse similar to the one initiated by the late Hugo Chávez, who led neighboring Venezuela to economic and social collapse.

Whoever wins the presidency will face serious problems. The country has been paralyzed by protests against inequality in the past year, and violence from rebels and paramilitary drug traffickers continues to plague the cities and countryside. Inflation is rising, and the country struggles to cope with nearly 2 million migrants from neighboring Venezuela.

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