Elections 2018: Road to the Colombian Presidency

By Oli Pritchard April 13, 2018
Road to the Colombian Presidency

Photo: Wikimedia

Just weeks to go until the first round of voting and the Colombian election circus is in full swing. That first round is on May 27 and no candidate is expected to win a simple majority. That means the top two will have to battle it out on June 17 to decide who will be the new president. We look back at some of the key recent developments.


The candidates have been taking part in a number of regional debates around Colombia. Things kicked off in Medellín without Humberto de la Calle, who was delayed due to flight troubles. The candidates didn’t have much to say there, but when the action moved to Barranquilla, Petro landed a blow on Duque. The Uribista tried to link Petro to the corrupt mayorship of Samuel Moreno, prompting Petro to point out that he had denounced Moreno and left the Polo Democrático over the incident. He then added “…and would you renounce the party of the ‘false positives?’”


There was another storm over avocados and petrol as Petro and Duque look to get one up on each other in an increasingly polarised campaigning season.

Just a coffee?

Following the debate in the Caribbean, centrists Fajardo and De la Calle were seen in deep conversation. There’s been plenty of speculation as to whether an alliance might be possible – especially after their now-famous coffee – although nothing had been declared at the time of printing. They are both hoping to resolve both the legal question about whether they can form an alliance as well as the political question about whether or not actually they want to and what shape that alliance would take.

And then there were six

One person who has abandoned the race is Piedad Cordóba. She announced her decision on the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Gaitán. Her resignation speech was tinged with bitterness as she pointed out that she and Viviane Morales had been the only candidates not invited to the regional debates.

Former minister of defence Juan Carlos Pinzón has also withdrawn his candidacy and, joining Vargas Lleras as his running mate.

Pens and swords

There was more controversy surrounding Duque’s ally Uribe when his supporters took exception to cartoonist Matador drawing Duque as a piglet. That resulted in a death threat furore, see our story below.

Splitting hairs

Duque’s hair colour has been the topic of much speculation after a flurry of social media suggesting he had died his hair grey to give him more gravitas.

Latest polls put Duque out in front with Petro behind, but with the other candidates jostling for position further back, analysts say this is not yet a done deal.