BOGOTA, Columbia: After voting in primaries held on March 13, the front-runner in Colombia’s May presidential election, Gustavo Petro, won the nomination of the left-wing Historic Pact coalition. Centrist Sergio Fajardo and right-winger Federico Gutierrez, both former mayors of Colombia’s second city Medellin, also secured nominations from their coalitions. A former guerrilla in the M-19 rebel group, Petro, who is also a former senator, and Gutierrez, a civil engineer, were both well ahead of their coalition rivals. In the Historic Pact primary, Petro won more than 3.5 million votes, or 80 percent, and Gutierrez won more than 54 percent or some 1.7 million ballots in the primary for a coalition representing a sector of Colombia’s right-wing. The contest for the centrist grouping was much closer. Mathematician Fajardo won close to 590,000 votes, or just under 33 percent, with 80 percent of votes counted. Voters also cast ballots for 108 senators and 187 lower house seats. In recent elections, Colombia’s congress has been split amongst myriad parties, forcing presidents to form big-tent coalitions in order to pass legislation. Incumbent President Ivan Duque’s right-wing Democratic Center party has already selected Oscar Ivan Zuluaga as its presidential candidate. In the 2018 presidential election, Petro lost to Duque, whose term ends in August. Some voters at a polling place in the south of capital city Bogota told Reuters they voted for Petro, hoping he would help create jobs. “I want us to have more work, for it to be easier to get a formal job,” noted unemployed Petro supporter Alberto Lopez, 31. But others interviewed said an eventual centrist victory could help counteract polarization. “We cannot continue to be caught between Petro and whoever is chosen by Uribe,” said textile merchant Alicia Chavarro, 46, referring to ex-President Alvaro Uribe.