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Critic of peace process wins Colombian presidential vote

Former Sen. Iván Duque, a critic of the peace deal with the country's largest left wing rebel group who supports oil and mining exploration and wants lower corporate taxes, won the second round of the country's presidential elections June 17, beating his rival by a solid margin, official results showed.

Duque, a protégé of controversial former President Álvaro Uribe, who is widely popular but has been accused of links to far-right paramilitaries, received 54% of the votes against 42% for his leftist rival Gustavo Petro, with 99% of polling stations counted.

Duque will take his oath of office Aug. 7, succeeding Juan Manuel Santos, who oversaw an historic peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2016. Duque has been a critic of the deal, calling it too lenient. Petro, a former member of another now disbanded guerrilla group, M19, had backed the deal with the FARC.

Other key issues facing the 41-year-old Duque, a fluent English speaker who studied law and received a masters degree from Georgetown University before a career including time at the Inter-American Development Bank, will be a flood of hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping the economic collapse in neighboring Venezuela, a sluggish economy, and a resurgence in production of coca, the raw material of cocaine.