Bogota’s entire government resigned on Wednesday, hours after President Juan Manuel Santos announced to remove Mayor Gustavo Petro from office in spite of an international court order not to do so.
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The mass renunciation was announced by Social Integration Secretary Jorge Rojas who said the secretaries’ decision was taken out of solidarity with their mayor.
Santos decided to sign off on the leftist Petro’s 10-year ban from politics, which took effect immediately. The president subsequently appointed Labor Minister Rafael Pardo successor and said new elections would be held to decide who gets to finish the 2011-2015 term.
The city government will stay on until April 1 in order to prepare a final presentation of what Petro and his secretaries have achieved since taking office in January 2011.
According to Rojas, he and his colleagues will make sure the transition with Bogota’s new elected government will go smoothly.
“We are at the disposal to promote a handover with the new government team that rises from elections,” said Rojas, adding that he hoped the succession team will “secure new progress made in overcoming social segregation and maintaining the course of adaptation and mitigation of climate change,” said the secretary.
Rojas failed to mention whether the secretaries will cooperate with the appointed interim mayor who Petro on Wednesday called an “imposter.”
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According to the outgoing Bogota city government, whatever happens to Bogota following the impeachment of its mayor is the responsibility of the national government.
Bogota trash collection
Petro was initially impeached by the Inspector General’s Office over attempts to bring the capital’s trash collection under government control. The measure resulted in three days of accumulated garbage in 2012.
The Inspector General’s ruling is controversial as at least two different courts said Petro had broken no law.
The now-former mayor himself has called his dismissal politically motivated and “arbitrary”.
However, according to the president, “the Colombian justice system has acted in a transparent, efficient and timely manner” and thus has no reason to abide by a ruling of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rughts (IACHR) that ordered his government to “guarantee the exercise of political rights of Mr. Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego and allow him to complete the period of time, for which he was elected to serve as the mayor of Bogota on October 30 2011.”
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- Gabinete Petro trabajará hasta el 1 de abril (Bogota city government)