Colombia elects former guerrilla Gustavo Petro

STORY: Colombia has elected its first leftist president.

Former guerrilla Gustavo Petro rode to victory Sunday on promises of profound social and economic change.

"We are writing history right now. A new history for Colombia, for Latin America and for the world."

Petro won by more 700,000 votes over construction magnate Rodolfo Hernandez, an unexpectedly wide margin.

Hernandez conceded in a video posted on social media.

"Today the majority of citizens who voted have choose the other candidate. As I have repeatedly stated, I accept the result, since this is how it should be if we want our institutions to be strong."

Petro is a former mayor of the capital city Bogota and is also a current senator.

He has pledged to fight inequality with free university education along with pension reforms and high taxes on unproductive land.

However, experts say that a fragmented congress where a dozen parties have seats will act as a check on Petro's proposals.

The President-elect has also vowed to fully implement a 2016 peace deal with FARC rebels and seek talks with the still-active ELN guerrillas.

This campaign was Petro's third presidential bid.

His victory adds Colombia to a list of Latin American countries that have elected progressives in recent years.

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