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A Guide to 2018 Latin American Elections: Colombia



Colombia held three elections in 2018: legislators on March 11, the first-round presidential vote on May 27, and the presidential runoff on June 17. These were the seats up for vote:

  • One president, one vice president
  • 108 senators: 102 voted on by the public, 5 automatic seats to the FARC, 1 seat for the runner-up in the presidential race
  • 172 representatives: 166 voted on by the public, 5 automatic seats to the FARC, 1 seat given to the vice presidential runner-up

Democratic Center Senator Iván Duque won the presidential runoff on June 17 with 54 percent of the vote over former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro, who obtained 42 percent. Duque's running mate, Marta Lucía Ramírez, becomes Colombia's first female vice president. The 2018–2022 Colombian Congress will face the task of establishing the legal framework for implementing outstanding parts of the 2016 peace agreement between the Juan Manuel Santos administration and the FARC. Duque and his mentor and party member, ex-President Álvaro Uribe, are both critics of the deal. Uribe won a second term as senator in March, and the Democratic Center party is now the largest in Congress. Presidential reelection was eliminated in 2015, so Duque will serve a single, four-year term. The inauguration is August 7.

>> Find out about other elections in our main 2018 Election Guide.

Iván Duque wins Colombia's presidential election

Colombia Update: New Cabinet, Familiar Faces

July 26, 2018

Incoming President Iván Duque’s team features a mix of veterans and relative newcomers. 

A Colombian voter checks the rolls in the Usaquén neighborhood of Bogotá on June 17.

Where Does Colombia's Center Go from Here?

June 22, 2018

During Colombia’s June 17 presidential runoff, voters in Bogotá tell us about their choices and expectations for the next four years.

Q&A with Adriana La Rotta: "A New Paradigm" in Colombia with Duque Victory

June 18, 2018

Colombia's next president "stands in a really good position to heal the polarization that marked the campaign," says La Rotta, head of AS/COA's media relations and an El Tiempo columnist.

Video: Colombia Post-Election Outlook

July 03, 2018

Colombia's political outlook changed when Iván Duque won the presidential race. Experts weigh in on what's next.

ANIF President Sergio Clavijo

#COLWallSt 2018 Recap: Colombia in the Eyes of Wall Street

June 14, 2018

Boosting growth, improving infrastructure, and increasing productivity: at AS/COA's Bogotá conference, participants discussed what lies ahead for Colombia's next president.

#COLWallSt Video: Probabilidades electorales en Colombia y la agenda económica 2018-2022

June 14, 2018

¿Cómo sería la economía colombiana bajo el liderazgo de Iván Duque o de Gustavo Petro?

Colombia poll tracker graphic

Poll Tracker: Colombia's 2018 Presidential Election

June 11, 2018

Iván Duque leads Gustavo Petro by up to 20 points in four polls ahead of the June 17 runoff.

Alvaro Uribe and Ivan Duque (AP)

Colombia Update: Five Issues Hovering over Sunday's Election

May 24, 2018

A dam, turnout, and Venezuela could all play a hand in the May 27 presidential first-round vote.

A Puzzle Awaits Colombia's Next President – and Washington

May 24, 2018

Soaring coca cultivation and a troubled peace deal will demand attention, but most voters are worried about other priorities.

Video: Colombia Elections Outlook - Challenges for the Next Administration

May 09, 2018

Experts weighed in on the candidates and what these elections will mean for Colombia's political scene in the future.

Chart: The Millennial Vote in Latin America's Big Three Elections

Chart: The Millennial Vote in Latin America's Big Three Elections

May 04, 2018

How significant is the under-35 electorate in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico? 

Voters check lists in Colombia.

LatAm in Focus: In Colombia's 2018 Elections, Drama Is Good for Democracy

March 16, 2018

The country has presidential candidates across the spectrum, say columnists Álvaro Forero Tascón and Adriana La Rotta. And that’s a sign of just how far the post-conflict democracy has come.

2018 Latin American Cities Conferences: Bogotá

June 13, 2018

AS/COA's twenty-second annual conference in Bogotá, focusing on the political and economic outlook for the incoming administration, takes place June 13.

Colombian poll workers tally presidential primary ballots. (AP)

Update: Colombian Presidential Race Comes into Focus

March 13, 2018

Recent legislative elections gave much-needed definition to a crowded field ahead of the May 27 first-round vote.

Colombian election polling site (AP)

Explainer: Colombia's 2018 Legislative Elections

March 08, 2018

The March 11 vote—the first in the FARC post-conflict era—will have significant implications for the May presidential vote. 

What Elections Mean for Colombia’s Peace Process

February 01, 2018

Election year politics are complicating implementation of Colombia’s peace deal. The next president could seek significant changes.

The Trouble Facing Colombia's Moderates

October 30, 2017

Without conflict to bring them together, Colombians are confronting their differences, and engaging in the messy business of democracy.

Making Sense of Colombia's Crowded Presidential Field

October 30, 2017

With more than two dozen potential candidates, Colombia’s 2018 race is up for grabs. Is there room for surprise among so many familiar faces?

Who's Afraid of Gustavo Petro?

October 10, 2017

From guerrilla to presidential candidate, Gustavo Petro's rise encapsulates the divisions, fears and hopes permeating Colombian politics today.

¿Quién le teme a Gustavo Petro?

October 24, 2017

De guerrillero a candidato presidencial, el ascenso de Gustavo Petro encierra las divisiones, temores y esperanzas que impregnan la política colombiana en la actualidad.

A polling station in Cali, Colombia. (AP)

Explainer: Colombia's 2018 Elections

June 28, 2017

The race to replace outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos is on, with candidates from across the spectrum.