Peñalosa will be the new mayor of Bogotá

By bogotapost October 25, 2015


Enrique Peñalosa

Enrique Peñalosa assumes the role of Bogotá’s mayor on January 1.

The polls have closed and the results are in. Enrique Peñalosa will be the next mayor of Bogotá having won 33% of the vote. Rafael Pardo came in close second with 28.5%, followed in distant third by Clara López with 18%. As predicted, Francisco Santos, came fourth with a surprising 12%, having only been given only 6% in the polls. The remaining candidates took less than 4% of the vote between them.

Peñalosa stormed to the mayor of Bogotá victory with even more than the 560,590 votes he took in the 2011 mayoral elections, when he came second.

Some were surprised by the collapse of support for Clara López, which is said to reflect the Bogotanos’ dissatisfaction with the Polo Democratico party.

Colombians across the country have been voting to elect 32 governors, 1,101 mayors, 418 deputies, 12,065 councillors and 6,700 town councillors that will take office on January 1 2016. There were 38 million Colombians able to vote; 17,413,000 women and 16,406,000 and men. The authorities have estimated that the cost of the elections came to about COP$434,000 million.

This has been one of the most peaceful elections in Colombian history, but hasn’t been without some violence. Soldier Laureano Antonio Patermina Pérez of the Brigada Móvil 25 was left dead by an ELN attack on soldiers supporting the elections in the municipality of Anorí, Northeast Antioquia.

In the other main cities, the biggest surprise came in Medellín where Federico Gutiérrez (Creemos) became the new mayor of the city. He won with 35.62%, narrowly beating Juan Carlos Vélez, of the Uribista Centro Democrático party. The result was remarkable both because Vélez had been leading in the polls, and because this is former President Uribe’s home state.

70-year old businessman and entrepreneur, Maurice Armitage, took 38.18% of the vote to become Cali’s new mayor, promising social improvements and to work to resolve the city’s water problems.

Alejandro Char (Cambio Radical) claimed a resounding victory in Barranquilla, with 73.06%. Char, who served as the city’s mayor from 2008-2011, promised “more space, more recreation, more culture, more mobility” throughout his campaign.

Find out more about what Peñalosa promised during his campaign:

Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” in the Peñalosa manifesto reflects his prevention-based strategy. He plans to construct “mega community centres” providing recreation, culture and art centres for vulnerable youths. He proposes to strengthen the existing police force rather than setting up new bodies.

Mobility & Transport
Like all candidates Peñalosa committed to construct the first line of the metro. He wants to focus on expanding his ‘brainchild’, the Transmilenio, with the construction of new lines. He loves his bike, declaring cyclists ‘civic heroes’ and wants to get 15% of Bogotanos using them by 2020.

He promises to make Bogotá the “principal tourist” destination of Colombia with international cultural workshops. Plans to generate tourism include ecological hiking, regional and district parks and the Bogotá river project.

Parks & Environment
Wants to build a hiking trail in the Cerros Orientales creating a new park from currently owned public land, also plans to recuperate the Bogotá River. He plans to increase participation in the ciclovía by offering activities such as yoga, wall climbing and musical concerts.

Diversity & Inclusion
Peñalosa believes Bogotá needs to feel proud of being a plural, multicultural, diverse and socially rich city. His administration will help families of disabled people cope better and conduct a census to determine the number of disabled people, allowing better allocation of resources.

By Daniel Steel