Ivan Duque sworn in as Colombia’s next president

World Today

Colombia’s President Ivan Duque gestures after receiving the presidential sash during his inauguration ceremony in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Colombia has a new president – Ivan Duque was sworn in as the next president amid peace deal uncertainty and protests.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogota.

Duque made his first speech as president of Colombia at his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.

He spoke of unity and rising above the left and right factions that are brewing in the country.

“I want to govern Colombia with unbreakable values and principles and rising above the divisions of the left and right,” said Duque.

Duque, a populist conservative, took the oath of office in front of 10 heads of state and 17 international delegations.

The 42-year-old is one of the youngest presidents ever elected in Colombia. And there will be no shortage of challenges at the start of his four-year term including a fragile peace accord, record coca production and a sluggish economy.

“I want to be the president that will forge these [peace agreements] about what Colombia needs and not falling for momentary praise,” said Duque in his inauguration speech.

Earlier, supporters of losing left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro, took the streets in a protest called March for Life. Their main concerns: support of the peace agreement with the FARC rebel group and anger over the death of social leaders across the country.

“We people are going to show the government that although they legitimately won, they have an opposition, and they must do right by them,” said one protester named Andres Felipe De la Ozz.

While Colombia is divided, the new president has described himself as a centrist that will unite the country.

His detractors fear he will be a puppet to former President Alvaro Uribe who has led the opposition to the peace agreement signed in 2016. During the ceremony, Uribe’s presence was acknowledged with a standing ovation.