Colombia begins second round of presidential voting

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BOGOTA, June 17 (Xinhua) -- A total of 11,233 polling stations opened on Sunday morning to allow more than 36 million Colombians to elect a successor to President Juan Manuel Santos.

"This has been a process of full guarantees for all the campaigns. We have shown how preparation and the process have had guarantees for all: the campaigns, the candidates and the citizens. All the authorities of the State have been organizing this electoral process to allow Colombians to express themselves at the ballot box," he said.

The national registrar of Colombia's civil system, Juan Carlos Galindo, said the electoral day was proceeding in complete calm.

In the second round of the presidential election, Colombia can choose between Ivan Duque, of the right-wing Democratic Center party, and the left-wing hopeful, Gustavo Petro, of the Humane Colombia movement.

Voting began at 8 a.m. and will continue until 4 p.m. locally.

He stated that this electoral day would be one of the most "peaceful and safest" in the recent history of the country.

"Today, the presidency of the Republic will be defined between the candidates who won the first round," said Santos.

Santos was accompanied by the First Lady, Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos, and two of their children.

"The two candidates ... one belongs to the right and one to the left, to the opposition. But never, and I believe both will say this, have they had any type of problem with the government. In these elections, all guarantees were given to them," said the president. "Colombian democracy is working and is being strengthened."

Santos voted in Bogota's historic Bolivar Square, where he called on citizens to vote and "strengthen our democracy."

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (C) casts his ballot at a polling station in Bogota, Colombia, on June 17, 2018. A total of 11,233 polling stations opened on Sunday morning to allow more than 36 million Colombians to elect a successor to President Juan Manuel Santos. (Xinhua/COLPRENSA/Diego Pineda)

Galindo said that, in the first round, the results were known approximately one hour and 20 minutes after voting closed, but that this should be even quicker on Sunday.