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Colombia Heavy security at polls as Petro narrows gap on Duque

A CLOSE result is expected in Colombia’s presidential elections as citizens went to the polls in the decisive second round of voting yesterday.

Right-wing neoliberal candidate Ivan Duque faced a strong challenge from left-wing former guerilla Gustavo Petro, with opinion polls suggesting former mayor of Bogota Mr Petro was just 2.9 points behind as voting opened yesterday morning.

Many fear for the future of the country should Mr Duque secure the presidency. He is bitterly opposed to the peace process that brought an end to five decades of violence as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) guerillas put down their weapons and took up electoral politics.

The elections are Colombia’s first since the 2016 peace accord and they are being heavily monitored amid fears of fraud and voter intimidation. More than 120,000 police were deployed to voting stations across the country.

A further round of peace talks between the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) was announced in a joint statement on Saturday.

The armed group had promised a ceasefire during the election period to allow Colombians to vote freely and without fear of attacks.

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