Petro’s term as Bogota mayor threatened by public vote

Posted on Dec 18 2013 - 8:34pm by Editor
gustavo petro bogota colombia

Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro seems to have attacks flying in from all sides, as in addition to being kicked out of office over rubbish disposal, a legal arsenal in the form of a public vote could now remove him from power by democratic means.

The register office validated on Wednesday the move to carry out a referendum within the next two months, after announcing that the hundreds of thousands of signatures received since April this year were sufficient to summon the public to vote on whether or not Petro should fulfill his term in office.

Whilst the most hotly debated attack on Petro since last Monday has been the Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez’s decision to oust him for 15 years on the basis of a failed reform to the capital’s waste collection, this particular campaign is being led by a member of the House of Representatives, Miguel Gomez Martinez.

MORE: Colombia’s Inspector General dismisses Bogota mayor over trash collecting scandal

A member of the U Party — the same political party as President Juan Manuel Santos — Gomez instead pinpoints on Petro apparent mismanagement of public capital.

Also unlike the decision by Ordoñez — a ruling that remains disputed until now and could be taken to an international court of justice — this method of driving Petro out should be entirely democratic.

“There are no appeals against this decision, and therefore over the next few days the register office will proceed to issue a resolution in which the date of this democratic day will be determined,” the Registry stated.

This implies that, whilst Bogota’s mayor is currently in Washington in talks with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding what he qualified as an “abuse of power” by Ordoñez, he would be rather more powerless to challenge the results of public vote.

MORE: Santos And Sacked Mayor Of Bogota Meet

Nonetheless, the mayor of Bogota seems confident in the will of his people.

“There will be no attempt on our part to delay a repeal or restraint. Let’s go to the ballots,” Petro stated from Washington.

The Civil Registrar Carlos Ariel Sanchez told W Radio that, should the decision by the Inspector General’s Office take effect, “the election process will be suspended.”

The electoral body also highlighted that in order for the referendum to be effective 55 percent of those who voted Petro into office in 2011 must participate.

The Registry has submitted a request to the Finance Ministry for US$ 30,000 to pay for the election process.


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