Populist millionaire faces ex-rebel for Colombia presidency

Leftist Sen. Gustavo Petro celebrated his first-round lead in Colombia's presidential election in the way most politicians would: in a conference room packed with hundreds of supporters as confetti rained down upon him.

The man he'll meet in a June 19 runoff had a different approach.

Rodolfo Hernandez sat at his home kitchen table and spoke to his followers for five minutes on Facebook Live.

"Today the country that does not want to continue with the same politicians, that does not want the same people who have brought us to our current situation, has won," he declared.

The 77-year-old populist rode a wave of disgust at the country's condition to what until just weeks ago would have been a shocking place in the runoff, surging late in the campaign past more conventional candidates.

He ran an austere campaign, unaffiliated with any major party, that was waged mostly on social media with a message that centered on reducing corruption and cutting wasteful government spending,

He is now positioned to mount a serious challenge to Petro, a former rebel who himself has long been seen as a political insurgent and who would be Colombia's first leftist leader if elected. Petro now, to some eyes at least seems like the more conventional candidate, even if he still frightens much of the country's conservative establishment.

Hernandez got 28% of the vote in the six-candidate field on Sunday while Petro, as polls had projected, got 40%.

Hernandez is a self-made millionaire who got rich in real estate after growing up on a small farm. He says he has paid for his campaign with his own savings rather than depending on donations.

Some in Colombia compare him to former U.S. President Donald Trump and describe him as a...

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