Petro to take office in Colombia with massive popular support

Gustavo Uribe is supported by 64 percent of Colombians. Photo: Flickr

A recent poll shows that Colombian President-elect Gustavo Petro will take the oath of office with much higher public approval ratings than his predecessors. According to Invamer, 64 percent of voters approve of Mr. Petro. Outgoing President Iván Duque, on the other hand, is only approved by 27 percent of the electorate.

Mr. Petro has garnered support in Congress, even from his opponents. His allies now hold 81 of 108 Senate seats (up from 33) and 113 of 188 seats in the House (from 36). Congressional support will be paramount for Colombia’s next president to be able to implement his reformist economic agenda.

Economic woes, however, mean that Mr. Petro will likely be granted a short honeymoon period before voters start demanding tangible progress to their living conditions. Invamer reports that 34 percent of voters see unemployment and overall economic conditions as the most important issues for the coming administration to tackle. 

For another 23 percent, fighting corruption is more urgent. 

Colombians were also questioned about migration, environment, and violence — in this case, specifically about the future of controversial peace deals with guerrilla groups.

A former guerilla member himself, Mr. Petro became one of the most influential voices against increasing violence figures in rural areas. Per Invamer, 57 percent of the population think the peace deals are not making sufficient progress, while 35 percent approve of them.