Latin American Voters Are Turning on the Centrist Establishment

A supporter celebrates after former leftist rebel Gustavo Petro won a runoff presidential election in Cali, Colombia, June 19, 2022 (AP photo by Andres Quintero).
A supporter celebrates after former leftist rebel Gustavo Petro won a runoff presidential election in Cali, Colombia, June 19, 2022 (AP photo by Andres Quintero).
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In the second round of Colombia’s election last month, voters faced a choice between Gustavo Petro, a far-left former guerrilla, and Rodolfo Hernandez, a candidate regularly described as a “right-wing populist.” Many citizens who define themselves as centrist and wanted to vote for a moderate candidate found themselves struggling to decide which of these extremes was worse. Second-round polarization has become a common theme in Latin American presidential elections. In the past year, presidential candidates from ideological extremes in Chile, Peru and Colombia made it to second-round votes, while more traditional and centrist candidates missed the cut by large margins. […]

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