Colombia’s Local Electoral Results: A Win For Moderates & Outsiders, A Defeat For Dynasties & Political Machines
Sunday’s local and gubernatorial elections in Colombia saw stunning defeats for the Centro Democratico, the political party of both current President Ivan Duque and former president Alvaro Uribe. Far left senator and former revolutionary militant Gustavo Petro also saw his hand picked candidate Holman Morris resoundingly rejected in Bogotá, where Colombia’s center-left politician Claudia Lopez won the mayoral election in the city of 9 million residents.
In Antioquia, the power base of embattled former president and current senator Alvaro Uribe, all of the mayoral candidates that received his blessing went down to defeat except for in the Medellín suburb of Bello, a city that has suffered grave problems with both political corruption and an organized crime crisis. According to Colombia Reports, the mayor-elect of Bello and Uribe partisan is a member of the Suarez crime family and already is facing criminal charges from his time as mayor between 2008 and 2011. A judge has allegedly ordered him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet.
Above photo: Medellín’s mayor elect Daniel Quintero (left) with Antioquia’s governor elect Anibal Gaviria Correa. Gaviria was previously mayor of Medellín before outgoing mayor Federico “Fico” Gutierrez. (Photo from Twitter: @QuinteroCalle)
Political outsider Daniel Quintero resoundingly defeated the “Uribista” candidate Alfredo Ramos, son of a close Uribe ally, this despite a campaign of “dirty tricks” against Quintero, who won the mayoral race for Medellin without the support of an existing political party or incumbent backing. From humble backgrounds, Quintero ran on an anti-corruption, centrist platform. Uribe, who was former mayor of Medellín, and governor of Antioquia, the department where Medellín is located, lives on a ranch just outside of Medellín, and has traditionally counted on the region as his primary base of supporters. After serving as governor in the late 1990s, Uribe became President of Colombia in the last decade,
In Uribe’s Centro Democratico party, the figurative daggers have already come out, with many party operatives and politicians placing the blame on Colombia’s current President and Centro Democratico partisan Ivan Duque. This, even though Uribe is currently facing charges before the country’s supreme court of witness tampering that may land the former president in prison.
Colombia’s Atlantic coast industrial powerhouse of Barranquilla saw Jaime Pumarejo elected as mayor, supported by immensely popular outgoing mayor Alejandro Char, and backed by a broad coalition of parties including Cambio Radical, Conservative, Liberal, The U, and Centro Democratico.
Bogotá, Colombia’s capital and largest city, saw center left senator Claudia Lopez win the mayors position running on an anti-corruption platform. Bogotá has generally suffered contentious politics in the mayor’s office. The outgoing mayor Enrique Peñalosa squabbled constantly with former M-19 militant revolutionary, senator and former mayor Gustavo Petro, who supported candidate Holman Morris in this election. Morris is embroiled in a nasty battle with his estranged wife, who alleges domestic violence during the campaign. Lopez is the first openly lesbian politician to hold major office in Colombia, a country that remains very socially conservative and religiously influenced. Lopez had support of left wing parties the Alianza Verde (Green Party) and the Polo Democratico.
Corruption plagued coastal city Cartagena saw another shocking upset by almost unknown political reformer William Dau and his fledgling political movement named “Let’s Save Cartagena.” Dau is new to political office but is well established in the corporate world. Dau has worked as a lawyer and internal auditor for Exxon Mobil, planner for Occidental Petroleum, and has ties to investment giant The Blackstone Group. Spending less than $17,000 USD on his campaign, Dau leveraged a non-traditional social-media focused campaign to beat the traditional political machines on the Atlantic coast, often embroiled in vote buying and election rigging scandals.
Former FARC militant and musician Guillermo Torres became the first former insurgent to win a mayoral election after the peace process was signed, though he did so not as a member of the new FARC political party, but with the support of the far-left Union Patriotica and Gustavo Petro’s Colombia Humana. Torres will take office as the mayor of Turbaco, a town near Cartagena. The town gained mild fame for gifting a donkey to former US President Obama when he visited Colombia in 2012. Obama thanked the town but did not accept the donkey. Torres won the election with over 50% of the vote and ran on a platform of environmental justice.
|Department||Governor||Mayor of Departmental Capital|
|Amazonas||Jesús Galdino Cedeño||Jorge L. Mendoza|
|Antioquia||Anibal Gaviria Correa||Daniel Quintero|
|Arauca||José Facundo Castillo||Edgar F. Tovar|
|Atlántico||Elsa M. Noguera||Jaime A. Pumarejo|
|Bolívar||Vicente A. Blel||William J. Dau|
|Boyacá||Ramiro Barragán||Luis A. Fúneme|
|Caldas||Luis Carlos Velásquez||Carlos M. Marín|
|Caquetá||Arnulfo Gasca Trujillo||Luis A. Ruíz|
|Casanare||Salomón A. Sanabria||Luis E. Castro|
|Cauca||Elias Larrahondo C.||Juan Carlos López|
|Cesar||Luis A. Monsalvo||Mello Castro G.|
|Chocó||Ariel palacios Calderón||Martín E. Sánchez|
|Córdoba||Orlando David Benitez||Carlos A. Ordosgoitia|
|Cundinamarca||Nicolás García Bustos||Claudia López|
|Guainía||Juan Carlos Iral||Pablo W. Acosta|
|Guaviare||Heydeer Y. Palacio||Ramón Guevara Gómez|
|Huila||Luis Enrique Dussan||Gorky Muñoz C.|
|La Guajira||Nemesio R. Roys||José Ramiro Bermúdez|
|Magdalena||Carlos E. Caicedo||Virna L. Johnson|
|Meta||Juan G. Zuluaga C.||Juan F. Hermán|
|Nariño||John A. Rojas||Germán Chamorro|
|Norte de Santander||Silvano Serrano G.||Jairo Tomás Yáñez|
|Putumayo||Buanerges F. Rosero||Jhon Jairo Imbachi|
|Quindío||Roberto J. Jaramillo||José Manuel Ríos|
|Risaralda||Víctor M. Tamayo||Carlos A. Maya|
|San Andrés||Everth J. Hawkins||Jorge Norberto Gari|
|Santander||N. Mauricio Aguilar||Juan Carlos Cárdenas|
|Sucre||Hector O. Espinosa||Andrés Eduardo Gómez|
|Tolima||José Ricardo Orozco||Andrés Fabián Hurtado|
|Valle||Clara Luz Roldán||Jorge Iván Ospina|
|Vaupés||Eliecer Pérez Gálvis||Carlos E. Penagos|
|Vichada||Álvaro A. León||Jair E. Beltrán.|