ColombiaOne.comColombia newsCarlos Galan Elected New Mayor of Bogota, Colombia

Carlos Galan Elected New Mayor of Bogota, Colombia

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Carlos Galan Bogota election mayor
Carlos Fernando Galan is the new mayor of the Colombian capital, Bogota. Photo: @CarlosFGalan / X

Carlos Fernando Galan has won the local elections in Bogota, and will be the next mayor of the Colombian capital. With more than 40% of the votes, Galan wins Bogota from the first round.

The New Liberalism party candidate has outperformed his main competitors: Juan Daniel Oviedo, who came in second with 20% of the votes, and Gustavo Bolivar, the left-wing candidate, who fought for the second spot until the end, ultimately finished in third place with 19% of the votes cast.

After losing to Claudia Lopez in 2019, who subsequently became the first female mayor of the capital, Carlos Galan has now clearly defeated his eight opponents in these elections. A favorite in all the polls, the only question was whether the liberal candidate would be able to secure victory in the first vote or have to face a second round, scheduled for November 19.

The second round format is a novelty in these elections and is only applied in the capital. In recent weeks, the intention-to-vote surveys offered the possibility that Galan might not need to go to a second round. It’s worth noting that to win today, the winner had to secure 40% of the votes and have a minimum 10-point lead over the second candidate.

Living Up to Expectations

Carlos Fernando Galan, aged 46, will take office as the mayor on January 1, 2024, succeeding Claudia Lopez, the first woman to hold the mayoralty of the Colombian capital, representing the Green Alliance party. Galan, with a discreet campaign, has successfully won over voters who were loyal to him in 2019, even though they were not enough back then, along with voters who cast their votes against the left-wing candidate, Gustavo Bolivar.

Galan, a former senator and former councilor of Bogota, ran for the mayor’s office in Bogota for the third time. In 2011, he ran for the first time as a candidate from the Radical Change party and received 285,263 votes, finishing in fourth place. In 2019, he ran as an independent candidate and finished in second place with a total of 1,022,874 votes. Today, he ran as a candidate from the political party founded by his father, the assassinated presidential candidate in 1989 when he was leading in the polls.

This result represents a clear, though not surprising, defeat for the country’s president, Gustavo Petro. The president played a prominent role in the selection of the candidate for his Historical Pact coalition, which did not achieve the success he expected.

Galan and the “useful vote”

Bogota is traditionally a left-leaning city, but the polarization between supporters and opponents of Gustavo Bolivar has been decisive. The so-called “useful vote” has been clearly capitalized by the favorite candidate in the polls, Carlos Galan. Therefore, the second round format, planned for this election in the capital, will not be utilized.

Avoiding the second round also means saving the city 40 million pesos, which is the estimated cost of organizing a second vote in the capital in November.

Like other candidates, Carlos Galan has public safety as a prominent proposal. However, as the future mayor-elect, he will face significant challenges related to issues that divide Bogotá and Colombian politics in the capital, such as the elevated metro and the new Transmilenio trunk lines for mass transit.

President Petro Loses the “Plebiscite”

For many media outlets and also in political circles, this result, even more favorable than expected for Carlos Galan, is seen as a defeat for President Petro’s leadership.

However, the mayor-elect’s campaign speech was about reconciliation with the president, making it possible for the country’s leader and the capital’s second authority to work together.

In any case, what analysts agree on is that Galán’s clear victory is a triumph of institutionalism and respect for the rules of the game.

See all the Colombia regional elections results here.

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