Petro’s approval rating hits new low with Colombia’s institutional crisis

President Gustavo Petro delivers a "balconazo" to mark International Workers' Day. Photo: Presidencia.

To quote a popular saying: “What goes around, comes around.” In the case of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, this is particularly acute given that during most of his predecessor’s presidency, the leftist opposition leader berated on social media Iván Duque’s poor approval ratings.

Now, nine months into his administration, Petro’s approval rating stands at 30% – according to Monday’s Datexco poll – and number two percentage points lower than the 33% registered by the same company as the conservative president was ending his four-year term.

According to the poll for W Radio, only 30% of Colombians approve of the President’s handling of the country, and 61% do not. The poll was conducted in three Colombian cities: Bogotá, Barranquilla, and Cartagena. Conducted between May 3 and 5, when pollsters asked Colombians what they thought of Petro’s speech from the Presidential balcony in which he warned of “possible revolution” should Congress block reforms, a meager 20% approved of the public discourse. And when it comes to “Total Peace”, citizens are increasingly pessimistic, giving the President a 2.2 out of 5 rating.

The Datexco poll was released days after a government reshuffle in which seven ministers resigned, including the head of the finance portfolio José Antonio Ocampo, to be replaced by Ricardo Bonilla, a close political ally of Petro, and his former District Finance Secretary during an embattled mayoralty.  The new appointments have not elevated confidence in the nine-month-old administration, with 51% of Colombians “not comfortable” with the new cabinet.