Former guerrilla to face rightwing senator in Colombia poll

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Petro and Duque win big in elections featuring FARC veterans for first time

Gideon Long in Bogotá

Former leftist guerrilla Gustavo Petro and youthful rightwing senator Iván Duque confirmed the strength of their bids to be Colombia's next president on Sunday in a historic day of voting in which veteran fighters from the FARC militant group stood for parliament for the first time.

Mr Petro, whose rise in opinion polls has unnerved investors, won a leftwing primary with 85 per cent, while Mr Duque, a 41-year-old Georgetown-educated lawyer, won a similar rightwing vote with 68 per cent. They will now progress to the first round of presidential elections on May 27 alongside a handful of other hopefuls.

Aside from the primaries, Colombians voted for a new senate and congress, with right and centre-right parties gaining seats in both houses.