Rodolfo Hernandez, a 77-year-old engineer, whose only political experience was serving as Mayor of Bucaramanga between 2016 and 2020, Gustavo Petro, the historic charter candidate, will run for Colombia’s presidency on June 19.
With rhetoric clearly populist, he criticizes the “corrupt” at every public outing – despite the fact that he himself has a case in the Attorney General’s office for alleged corruption in the Bucaramanga garbage management contract, a case in which his son appears strongly intertwined – without the presence of many Debates and a very effective strategy appeal on social networks, “The Engineer” managed to remove Vico Gutierrez from the second presidential run.
It rose from 77,238 votes in October 2015 (when he was elected mayor) to 5,953,209 votes this Sunday (28.15 percent of the total), and 99.9 percent of the country’s polling stations have been counted. He received 895,199 votes from Federico Gutierrez, the man who until just over a month ago has emerged as the only candidate capable of challenging Pietro to victory, It managed to stay with second place on May 29th.
Hernandez will now be in the second election round against Petro, who won Sunday with 8,527,768 votes.
(Don’t stop reading: The abstention rate reached 45%, the lowest in 20 years in the first round)
What explains the phenomenon of Rodolfo Hernandez in the 2022 presidential election?
Sunday’s elections showed that a majority of Colombians want to change the political direction. As the defeated Sergio Fajardo pointed out in the afternoon, both Gustavo Pietro and Rodolfo Hernandez represent a break with what many citizens consider the establishment.
The former mayor of Bucaramanga sells himself as an executor, a technician who has solved his economic problems in life. – and for this, he says, he does not think of getting rich at the expense of his position – and that he is not bound by bureaucratic forms to achieve the desired results. His image as a family man – his wife and mother appear intermittently in the events of the campaign – also spread among Colombians.
Rodolfo Hernandez reigned in 12 departments of Colombia, especially those in the center of the national territory (except for Bogota).
Guillermo Henao, a political analyst and strategist at the National University, noted that one of the keys to Hernandez’s rise lies in a break with the way politics is done: “Digital politics trumps traditional politics,” the analyst said. . added Federico Gutiérrez “couldn’t remove the heaviness of the uribismo and also at all times had the Duque sign”“.
(You may be interested: Sergio Fajardo: We can’t be sad)
Rodolfo Hernandez, who has not held positions beyond Uribismo, is instead considered a player intruder from traditional politics. This image earned him, even in the younger sections of the population who had been buying Gustavo Pietro’s speech for several years.
Suppose Rodolfo Hernandez understood, in the same way as other candidates in the past, that if debates were not his forte, it was not worth it…
Juan Sebastian Jiménez, an analyst at the National University, adds that he has also worked with Hernandez not to go into discussions, where his proposals – or the lack thereof in several key areas – could be more straightforward: “Let’s say that Rodolfo Hernandez understood, in the same way that other candidates have in the past, that if debates were not his forte, it was not worth it to continue, and that his electorate would not grow because of debates in general.“.
He also notes that his campaign “was very good on social media, very good at generating news”: “This made him achieve something that was his great inability at the beginning of the campaign, which was the lack of national recognition, not many people know”
The analyst notes that “Rodolfo, as Trump did at the time, is a candidate who knew how to throw himself through social networks and this is one of the keys to his success.”
For Jesús Agreda, a professor at the University of Del Rosario’s School of International Political and Urban Studies, the Rodolfo phenomenon is due to the fact that he managed to lead an anti-corruption discourse.
“He has this powerful discourse about one of the most transcendental problems in Colombian politics, which is corruption. Also, people want a change and the least dangerous trend was Rodolfo. Fill that void.”
Political analyst Carlos Arias believes that the phenomenon of Rodolfo is due to the boredom that Colombians constantly suffer, to the phenomenon of public opinion that is confirmed and consolidated today in digital networks because people, for the most part, are really tired of it. In addition, they warned that Federico had no chance of winning in the second round and that Rodolfo had collected the beneficial vote associated with Pietro’s fear.
As of today, his campaign has spent 2,267 million pesos, mostly from personal resources, credits and contributions. and now, According to the same polls that predicted him moving into the second round, he has a clear chance of standing in the way of Gustavo Petro who was even considering a win in the first round.
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