Íngrid Betancourt pulls out of Colombian presidential race

Betancourt has stepped aside and given her support to Rodolfo Hernández.

Íngrid Betancourt and Rodolfo Hernández following yesterday’s meeting in Barranquilla. Photo: Íngrid Betancourt Twitter

With just over a week to go before Colombians go to the polls to elect a new president, one of the seven remaining candidates has resigned from the race. Íngrid Betancourt announced on social media yesterday that she would no longer stand and instead will support Rodolfo Hernández

“I join the presidential campaign of @ingrodolfohdez!” she tweeted. “This decision is to offer Colombia a different option that defeats the corrupt and the [political] machinery.” Rodolfo sits in third place in the polls, while Betancourt was struggling to make it to 1%.

Rodolfo was somewhat of a dark horse before the presidential election race and still lags behind Petro and Fico in the polls. However, the former mayor of Barranquilla is gaining ground rapidly. The 77-year-old engineer has won support from those who don’t want the extremes that Petro and Fico are perceived to represent.

Betancourt and Rodolfo met in Barranquilla and, according to a joint statement, found that they had more in common than what separated them. Betancourt argues that Rodolfo is the only candidate that has a chance of defeating Petro in the second round. Her name will still appear on the voting sheets, but votes will automatically transfer to Rodolfo.

Betancourt was kidnapped by the FARC in 2002 and spent six years as a hostage. Rodolfo’s father and daughter were kidnapped by the FARC and ELN respectively. Betancourt ran primarily on an anti-corruption ticket, but has struggled to gain traction with voters. Part of the problem was that the politician has spent much of her life in France, which made it difficult for her to connect with many Colombians. 

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