The Franco-Colombian and ex-hostage Ingrid Betancourt announced on Friday May 20 the withdrawal of her candidacy for the presidential election of May 29 in Colombia and her rallying to an independent candidate, Rodolfo Hernandez. “Today I made the decision to support the only candidacy that can end the system,” said Ms. Betancourt during a press conference in Baranquilla (north), alongside Mr. Hernandez.

“The two candidates have signed an agreement to join forces in the first round,” said a joint statement from their two formations. A decision “based on the belief that there are more things that unite the candidates than things that separate them”, explains the text, referring to “the ethical management of public affairs”, as well as “the relentless fight against political politics. and corruption”.

The Franco-Colombian presented herself under the colors of her own environmentalist party, Vert Oxygen, carrying a feminist discourse and against corruption. She wanted to be an alternative between the left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro, leading in the polls, and the representative of a right-wing coalition Frederico Gutierrez. But his candidacy never took off, falling to 0.8% of voting intentions according to a latest survey by the Invamer institute published on Friday.

Thunderous statements

Ms. Betancourt was part of a centrist coalition at the start of the campaign, which she finally broke with her thunderous statements against her partners, accusing them of being complacent with corruption.

She then decided to run under the colors of her own party, but there too was confused by her very strong attacks against other candidates, then her outstretched hand to the former president of the hard right, Alvaro Uribe (2002- 2010), leader of the Democratic Center, the party currently in power. It was under his presidency that she was freed from the hands of the FARC during a clandestine army operation.

Very popular in France, Ingrid Betancourt, 60, remains a relatively controversial figure in Colombia, where she does not arouse much sympathy and where she is accused in particular of having tried to profit financially from her detention.

She withdraws in favor of Mr. Hernandez, given in third position in the polls, a 77-year-old businessman and former mayor of the city of Bucaramanga (north), independent of the traditional parties, politically unclassifiable but often accused of populist .

Six candidates, all men

According to Ms. Betancourt, candidate Hernandez is “the only one who can allow a second round to be held and defeat Petro and Gutierrez”. After this announcement, there are still six candidates in the presidential race, all men.

According to the latest Invamer poll, the leader of the left-wing coalition of the Historic Pact, ex-guerrilla converted to social democracy and former mayor of Bogota, retains his first place (41%), but is however down two points.

The conservative candidate and ex-mayor of Medellin, Federico Gutierrez, comes in second place with 27.1%, closely followed by Mr. Hernandez who has risen to 20.9% in recent days. The centrist candidate and ex-ally of Ms. Betancourt, Sergio Fajardo, is only credited with 5.1%.