Colombian Elections: The Final Week for Fico Gutiérrez | Presidential Elections Colombia | The USA Print

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Federico Gutiérrez, candidate for the presidency of Colombia, addresses his supporters in Medellín, during his campaign closing speech, on May 22, 2022.
Federico Gutiérrez, candidate for the presidency of Colombia, addresses his supporters in Medellín, during his campaign closing speech, on May 22, 2022.santiago table

One week before the presidential elections, Federico Gutiérrez has had to include a new name in his speech. It had been enough for the right-wing candidate to show himself as the antithesis of Gustavo Petro to win the sympathy of Uribismo and those who believe in the idea that a leftist government could be a danger to Colombia, but at the end of the race Rodolfo has appeared Hernández, a candidate who was not in anyone’s calculations and who threatens, at least that’s what the polls show, the coveted second place with which Fico had felt safe until now. “So much that they have sought each other and even alliances had been made. For this very reason, Petro, Fajardo and Rodolfo dedicated themselves to attacking me with so many lies for two months. They know that we are going to win and that is why they have done this and have even gotten together, ”Gutiérrez wrote this Monday on Twitter, when the electoral ban already prevents him from seeking votes on the street, the scenario in which he feels most comfortable.

Fico Gutiérrez faces the most difficult week of his candidacy. Without being able to campaign in the public square, where he moves well and knows how to approach the electorate, he maintains second place in voting intention, but with 23.9%, -according to the latest survey by the National Consulting Center- an average that it has managed to rise since the beginning of April when the right-wing candidate had barely been elected, after winning the referendum of the Equipo por Colombia coalition. Since then it has remained almost in the same place, but a few days before the elections, the growth of the candidate Rodolfo Hernández, with 21.9%, threatens his safe second place, after the leader Gustavo Petro, who has 41%. “This is like climbing, like a mountain stage and we have dedicated ourselves to proposing and thinking about the country,” Fico said this Monday in an interview with Teleantioquia. But in this race there is a third party who seems to have saved energy for the last stage and who has put a new challenge ahead of him.

For Miguel García, a professor at the Department of Political Science at the Universidad de los Andes, Fico soon reached his electoral ceiling, which he failed to increase, despite the fact that “he connects very well with the people, who has a discourse and a language that It is related to the popular sectors. His problem growing up has been that he is seen as the candidate who represents more of the same.” García believes that Gutiérrez’s candidacy has been attractive to a sector of the population – “large”, he points out – that is still afraid of a Petro presidency, but it has not been enough. “That leap into the void [que tanto ha repetido Fico en su discurso] It has also been an impulse for some to think that it does not matter to them who wins because they have never had anything and they do not care about anyone,” says García, who also points to young people as one of the reasons why the former mayor of Medellín does not he has been able to expand his electorate, at least in the polls.

Professor Garcia led a study, published in the university environment 070, with young people between 18 and 25 years old, in which, when asked which political party they would never vote for, the majority pointed to the party of former president Álvaro Uribe, the Democratic Center, and although Fico is not officially the candidate of that community It is the one that best represents your ideals. “The right has more detractors, among young people, than any other ideology. The candidacy of Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez has been able to capitalize on this moment, even Rodofo Hernández represents more of this electorate, which is tired, which shows that there is boredom. We have never had such high indicators of distrust in the political class, that is why in these elections proposals are not as important as the need for change, and for a segment of the population a person like Rodolfo represents that desire. He has the advantage that he is not located within any spectrum, he is everything and nothing, he is many things at the same time”.

García acknowledges that Fico is being “a victim of the polls, which reflect a moment and can build another reality. Now they are showing that another outcome is possible in these elections, they are giving a message that there is another viable candidate. That is very bad for his candidacy. At this point things are already played out and it would take a miracle for Rodolfo Hernández not to continue growing, because despite being a candidate lacking in serious content, the way he speaks and how he recognizes himself generates mobilization”.

Sebastian Bitar, a professor at the School of Government, also at the Universidad de los Andes, explains that both the Petro and Gutiérrez campaigns have favored Rodolfo Hernández, who has taken voters away from both candidates, by not appearing in any of the the two shores. “[Hernández] It is the success of two very harmful strategies that have wanted to show the other as the worst enemy, as the worst thing that can happen to the country. This has led many to distrust both and think that by voting for Rodolfo there is nothing to lose,” says Bitar, for whom Fico should take advantage of this week to offer a more inclusive speech, especially on economic issues, if he wants it to reach him. the impulse that placed him in second position at the beginning of the electoral contest.

The former mayor of Medellín, who since Sunday with the end of the campaign will not be able to continue looking for votes in the streets as he likes so much, has the challenge of conquering them with his appearances in the media or in debates with the other candidates. “We already have a quota, we are going forward. Until four months ago we were more than 40 candidates. This is like climbing, you go step by step. I ask people to continue accompanying us in the days that follow, which are definitive, ”he said on Monday. Fico Gutiérrez lives the decisive week for him.

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