Colombian leftist Petro leads presidential election poll

Colombian left-wing presidential candidate Gustavo Petro of the Coalition Historic Pact party speaks during the announcement of his chief debater in Bogota, Colombia April 6, 2022. REUTERS/Nathalia Angarita/File Photo

BOGOTA, April 29 (Reuters) - The leftist former mayor of Bogota, Gustavo Petro, remains the front-runner in Colombia's May 29 presidential election, while center-right candidate Federico Gutierrez has vaulted into second place, according to a poll released on Friday by Invamer.

Petro, who was a member of the M-19 left-wing guerrilla group and governed Colombia's capital between 2012 and 2015, is favored by 43.6% of prospective voters, the poll found, while Gutierrez, a former mayor of Medellin, the country's second-largest city, has 26.7%.

An Invamer poll published in February showed Petro with 44.6% support and Gutierrez with only 8%.

The most recent poll put independent candidate Rodolfo Hernandez, the former mayor of Bucaramanga, in third place with 13.9%, while centrist candidate Sergio Fajardo was fourth with 6.5%.

For Hernandez, the result represented an increase of less than one percentage point, though Fajardo saw his support fall 8.5 percentage points.

Hernandez and Fajardo began discussions this week regarding a possible alliance in the first round of voting.

The poll has a margin of error of 2.19% and was based on 2,000 interviews conducted between April 21 and April 27.

More than 38 million Colombians are registered to vote on May 29. If none of the candidates receive more than half of the valid votes, the top two will compete in a second round in June.

The poll showed Petro taking 52.4% in a second round, with Gutierrez the runner-up with 45.2%.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta Writing by Oliver Griffin Editing by Paul Simao

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