Bogota victory shows ‘desire for change’: Petro

Bogota Mayor-elect Gustavo Petro said Sunday that the Colombian capital’s local electoral results are a “victory of the desire for change.”

In his victory speech, the former guerrilla thanked the bogotanos who voted for him, but stressed the city has a long road ahead after a widely considered disastrous administration by outgoing Mayor Samuel Moreno who is in jail on corruption charges.

“This is a victory of the desire for change of the city of Bogota which demands immense challenges of the 21st century, like overcoming an administrative crisis,” said Petro.

The socialist — a long-time political enemy of former President Alvaro Uribe and outspoken critic of current President Juan Manuel Santos — called on the President to come to agreement.

While Santos’ discourse has mostly about unity, Petro in his speech stressed “the importance of pluralism and diversity as the very base of democracy which pushes us, forces us, to come to agreement.”

“There are things to talk about with the president,” said Petro, stressing the importance of cooperation between the capital district and national government and a “plan to mitigate the effects of the FTA” with the United States.

Colombian President Santos, without explicitly mentioning Petro, also called for conversations with Colombia’s new mayors and governors.

“We are more than willing to sit down and coordinate our policies, because this is what we need to do, this is our responsibility,” said the president.

Petro will take office on January 1.

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