With nearly all ballots counted in Sunday’s first round, Ivan Duque was leading with 39.7% ahead of Gustavo Petro on 24.8%. Former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo came third with 23.8%.

Preliminary results of the first round of the Colombian presidential election go on display. Photograph: Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

Duque, a hardline conservative who opposes the peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) took the largest share of the vote, though fell short of the 50% required to win at the first round.

Petro, himself once a guerrilla, was Colombia’s first progressive candidate in generations and had been expected to gain a larger share.

Supporters of Iván Duque celebrate after he won the first round of voting on Sunday. Photograph: Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

Duque and Petro will now face off in the second round on 17 June.

The winner of the second round will begin a four-year term in office from August.

Colombian presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, accompanied by his daughter Antonella, votes in Bogotá. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

It remains to be seen if Fajardo, a reformer and former mayor of Medellín, will back Petro in the second round. The two other candidates, Germán Vargas Lleras and Humberto de la Calle, were unable to muster 10% of the vote between them.

Sunday’s vote was the first election marked the first presidential elections since a peace deal was reached between the government and FARC, signed in 2016, a deal that has polarized opinion in the country.

A follower of Sergio Fajardo shows her disappointment after her candidate came third in the poll. Photograph: STRINGER/Reuters

The peace process was the initiative of outgoing president, Juan Manuel Santos, who won the Nobel peace prize for his achievement. Santos could not stand for re-election, after serving two consecutive terms.

Duque – now the clear favorite to take the presidency in June – is opposed to the peace deal. His mentor and ally, former president Álvaro Uribe, remains a powerful figure in Colombian politics, having long been fiercely critical of the peace process.

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Article originally appeared on Today Colombia and is republished here with permission.


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