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Carlos Galan Could Win in First Round of Elections for Mayor of Bogota

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Carlos Galán alcaldía Bogotá primera vuelta
Carlos Galan is the favorite to win the mayoralty of Bogota – Credit: @CarlosFGalan

Carlos Fernando Galan has the potential to secure the mayoralty of Bogota in the first round of elections on October 29, according to several polls conducted just 15 days prior to the election. It’s essential to note that this year, the Colombian capital will implement the two-round voting system. However, if a candidate manages to garner 40% of the first vote and maintain a lead of at least 10 points over the second candidate, they will be automatically elected without the need for a second round.

Galan, a candidate representing the New Liberalism party and the son of the late liberal presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan, who was tragically assassinated in 1989, has been steadily amassing supporters and consistently rising in all the polls. He has maintained the lead in the intention-to-vote rankings from the campaign’s outset. Presently, the polls attribute between 38% and 39.3% of the votes to the candidate, indicating he is in close proximity to being elected in the first round.

Following closely in the intention-to-vote rankings is the candidate from the ruling Historical Pact, leftist Gustavo Bolivar, who remains stable at approximately 24%. While his personal rivalry with the third candidate, Juan Daniel Oviedo, seems to secure him the second position more than ever, his votes could be insufficient if Galán surpasses 40%, something the liberal candidate appears poised to achieve just days before the first round.

Aiming for 40% of the Votes

The candidate seeking to replace the current mayor, Claudia Lopez, must secure victory in the October 29 elections. Only a candidate who surpasses 40% of the votes and maintains a lead of more than 10 points over the second candidate will be elected in the first vote. Otherwise, the two primary candidates will have to compete in a second round, scheduled for November 19.

Carlos Galan has led in the intention-to-vote rankings since the commencement of the electoral campaign. Despite his previous run in the 2019 elections, where he was defeated by the current mayor, Claudia Lopez, this time, he hasn’t encountered a significant rival. However, in recent weeks, Galan’s goal has been to secure his election in the first round, a goal that appears to be within reach as the latest polls indicate he has 39.3% support, a mere 0.7% away from the coveted 40% required for victory on October 29.

The polls for the nation’s second most important office show that Galan now surpasses candidates such as former Congressman Rodrigo Lara (4.5%), former Defense Minister Diego Molano (3.4%), and retired Police General Jorge Luis Vargas (1.7%), as well as former Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo (1.2%), Nicolás Ramos (1%), and Rafael Quintero (0.7%).

Carlos Galán alcaldía Bogotá primera vuelta
Galan, Bolivar and Oviedo occupy the first positions in the polls – Credit: Mein Rawer / CC BY-SA 4.0 / @OtraVozTV / CC BY 3.0 / DNP / CC BY-SA 4.0

Gathering Support

Carlos Galan has been gaining significant public support in recent months. Prominent figures, including former Minister Alejandro Gaviria, former Vice President and leader of the Colombian delegation in the peace talks with the FARC, Humberto de la Calle, and former Education Minister Cecilia Velez, have endorsed the candidate. He is in a strong position and is undoubtedly the favorite to assume the position at the Liévano Palace starting in January 2024.

Even someone closely associated with President Petro, lawyer and former Petrista councilman Carlos Vicente de Roux, who is the brother of Francisco de Roux, President of the Truth Commission, has expressed support for the candidate from the New Liberalism.

Galan Would Also Win in the Second Round

However, if the numbers don’t align for candidate Carlos Galan to secure victory in October, statistics also suggest his triumph in the second round in November. Whether his opponent is Gustavo Bolivar or former DANE director Juan Daniel Oviedo, Galan’s victory appears likely in all the polls.

In a hypothetical second round, all the polls favor Galan. In a matchup with Bolivar, it is expected that Galan will receive 60.3% of the votes, compared to his opponent’s 31.4% and 8.2% of blank votes. On the other hand, if he faces Oviedo, the advantage would be even more significant, with Galan receiving 67.8% of support compared to Oviedo’s 22.9%, and 9.6% of blank votes.

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