Colombians residing in South Florida exercise their right to vote during the second round of the presidential elections at Miami Dade College - Wolfson Campus in Miami on Sunday, June 17, 2018. (Sam Navarro/Miami Herald via AP)

The Latest: Colombian officials understated voter turnout

June 17, 2018 - 6:36 pm

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The latest on Colombia's presidential election (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

Official results in Colombia's presidential runoff vote show electoral authorities understated the turnout.

When polls closed Sunday, National Registrar Juan Carlos Galindo said just 44 percent of registered voters had cast ballots. That would have been one of the lowest participation rates for Colombians in recent memory.

But with returns in from more than 99 percent of polling stations, the reported turnout is 53 percent — just below the level in the first round of voting three weeks ago and the highest in a Colombian presidential runoff since 1998.

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5 p.m.

Colombia election results show Ivan Duque, the young conservative protege of a powerful former president, is poised to become the country's next president.

Duque holds a 12-point lead over leftist contender Gustavo Petro with nearly 97 percent of voting centers reporting in a preliminary count.

The 41-year-old Duque would take charge of the South American nation from outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos as it implements a still fragile peace accord after more than five decades of armed conflict. Duque soared in the polls as he promised to roll back parts of the historic accord with leftist rebels but not "shred it to pieces."

Duque gained his front-runner status thanks in large part to support from Alvaro Uribe, the former president who is both widely admired and detested in Colombia.

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4:50 p.m.

Colombians who support conservative presidential candidate Ivan Duque have begun celebrating even before final results are announced in the country's presidential runoff election.

Duque admirers honked car horns and began congregating Sunday around the site in Bogota where he is expected to receive the final results.

A preliminary count of nearly 85 percent of voting center reports indicates Duque has a lead of 13 percentage points over his leftist runoff opponent, Gustavo Petro.

Duque is promising to roll back parts of a contentious peace accord with leftist rebels for ending Latin America's longest running conflict.

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4:30 p.m.

Early results in Colombia's presidential race indicate conservative Ivan Duque is well ahead.

An initial count of 22 percent of polling stations reporting shows Duque leading by 18 percentage points over former leftist guerrilla-turned-politico Gustavo Petro in the race to succeed President Juan Manuel Santos.

Duque is the protege of influential former President Alvaro Uribe and would become the nation's youngest president in over a century. He is promising changes the nation's historic peace accord with leftist rebels.

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4:20 p.m.

Turnout in Colombia's presidential runoff fell by almost 10 percentage points from the first round of voting three weeks ago.

National Registrar Juan Carlos Galindo said after polls closed Sunday that just over 44 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

It is one of the lowest turnouts in a Colombian presidential runoff in memory. Four years ago, almost 48 percent of registered voters cast ballots in electing President Juan Manuel Santos.

Some said there was a packed schedule of World Cup games involving Brazil, Mexico and Germany that kept many soccer-crazed voters at home glued to their TV sets.

Other people may have stayed home out of disgust with the polarized nature of the campaign between the two ideological finalists — conservative Ivan Duque and former leftist rebel Gustavo Petro,

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4:05 p.m.

Polls have closed in Colombia's presidential runoff election as the nation implements a historic peace deal with leftist rebels.

Some voters ran to polling sites in Bogota to cast ballots before the closure on a day when many people were also trying to fit in World Cup matches.

Young conservative Ivan Duque and former rebel-turned-politico Gustavo Petro are vying to lead the South American nation.

Whoever wins will inherit a country where coca production is soaring and a fragile peace deal to end five decades of conflict remains contentious.

Both candidates have vowed to uproot endemic corruption and improve Colombia's economy but have presented diverging views on how to do so. They also differ on how to proceed with implementing the peace accord.

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12:55 a.m.

Crowds of supporters have cheered both of Colombia's presidential contenders as they cast their ballots in a crucial runoff race.

Conservative front-runner Ivan Duque said he wants to unite the country and turn a page on corruption.

The 41-year-old also said his victory would allow Colombia to be governed by a new generation.

Backers of his rival, ex-Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro, chanted "President Petro!" and reached out to shake his hand as he made his way to vote through a tight crowd of admirers Sunday.

Petro said he believes Colombians want change and that he would win by a considerable margin.

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12:10 a.m.

The hopes and fears among Colombians voting in the nation's first presidential election since the signing of a peace accord with rebels are palpable at the ballot box.

Thirty-eight-year-old businesswoman Katherine Cuellar said Sunday she is voting for conservative candidate Ivan Duque because she believes leftist rival Gustavo Petro is "a very dangerous person who will do the country much harm."

Engineer Luis Alberto Castroe said a vote for Duque would mean "little change" for Colombia, and he cast his ballot for Petro instead.

Other voters like Adriana Suarez were filing blank ballots, believing neither candidate is a viable option during a critical juncture in Colombia's history.

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11:05 a.m.

Powerful former President Alvaro Uribe is making a strong last-minute warning against leftist candidate Gustavo Petro, who is facing Uribe protege Ivan Duque in Colombia's presidential runoff.

Uribe said while casting his vote Sunday that Duque is the best guarantee against Colombia falling victim to "destructive socialism" in the mold of the country's crisis-wracked neighbor, Venezuela.

Petro led a groundbreaking campaign a decade ago to expose criminal ties between Uribe's allies and far-right paramilitary groups.

Uribe said the conservative Duque and his running mate Marta Lucia Ramirez "are the guarantee that will scatter the dangers of social and democratic instability that hang over our fatherland."

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8:15 a.m.

Polls have opened for Colombia's presidential election, where voters are choosing between a young conservative lawmaker and a former leftist guerrilla as the nation implements a historic peace accord.

Colombians began gathering outside polling centers early Sunday to cast their ballots in a tense runoff between Ivan Duque and Gustavo Petro.

The vote comes at a crucial moment: A still-fragile peace deal with leftist rebels is being implementing and coca production is soaring.

The two candidates have presented starkly different views on Colombia's economic model and whether changes should be made to the peace accord.

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