COLOMBIA: Duque's Candidacy Can Boost The Market But With Caution

Colombians also voted for candidates from the right-wing and leftist coalitions to represent them in May's presidential election.

Right-wing parties opposed to a peace deal with leftist FARC former rebels were leading Colombia's legislative elections but falling short of a majority in Congress, partial results showed this morning.

March 12, 2018 The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, today welcomed the decision of the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to resume peace talks with the ELN guerilla in Quito, that had been suspended in January.

Duque, a protégé of former President Alvaro Uribe and the standard bearer for the Democratic Center party, beat fellow candidates Marta Lucia Ramirez and Alejandro Ordonez for his coalition's nomination.

Petro's promise of a "social economy" that would raise taxes and shift away from oil, Colombia's top export, towards agriculture has anxious investors in the Andean nation as opinion polls showed the former member of the disbanded M-19 guerrilla group and ex-mayor of Bogota running ahead of Duque. Although it seems unlikely the group will return to war, many Colombians are unwilling to move on.

Just over 40 percent of eligible voters turned out for the legislative elections.

He has been vocal in his opposition to the 2016 FARC accord, which could stymie implementation if he wins.

Supporters of 57-year-old Petro's Colombia Humana party highlight his work to improve conditions for the poor.

While no party came close to winning control of either the lower house or Senate, with results still not finalized early on Monday, Duque's Democratic Center party was polling the largest number of votes for the Senate, with more than 2.5 million, and was running second in votes for the lower house. "It is very important for our democracy, and that is what the peace process was about", said Santos. Under the peace Agreement signed in November 2016, they're guaranteed ten Congressional seats in this Election.

Petro said that despite the fact that right wing parties performed better in the legislative elections, his newly formed party has a good opportunity to win the presidential ones.

They both favor improvements to infrastructure and tax cuts for businesses, though Fajardo is considered left-leaning.

Left-wing candidates, including the Liberals' Humberto de la Calle, who was the government's head negotiator at the FARC talks, say negotiations are positive but not a panacea.

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Parties announce candidates: RS polls on Mar.23