Petro’s legislative hell: Bogota Council rejects series of reforms

Gustavo Petro (Photo: La Opinión)

In a tumultuous week of consecutive clashes with the city council, Bogota’s mayor has failed to pass a single one of his proposed 2015 budget projects ratified. 

It has not been a good week for Mayor Gustavo Petro. The constitutional court decided to reinstate bullfighting, his son is being investigated for favoritism regarding district contracts and the Superintendent of Industry and Commerce decided to overthrow the current model of garbage collection, accompanied by a huge fine imposed on him and other officers of the Bogota Water Company.

MORE: Bogota Mayor orders investigation into his son

To compound Petro’s concerns his relationship with the District Council is at its lowest ebb. In recent days, the council has sunk four key projects in the city. These were reforms on tax modernization, concessions for schools, a public transport reform, and the modification agreement to avoid promoting bullfighting at the Plaza La Santamaria.

To make matters worse, there has been a chorus of criticism from the Bogota councilmen.

Councilwoman Maria Victoria Vargas noted that there are “considerable reasons why we have sunk the last projects of the district administration. A draft agreement was presented to create a tax audit to exercise control over the Comptroller. The mayor has no power to create another control body. As for the schools, the administration should add this to the development plan, and he did not. The tax modernization had serious shortcomings, one of which is including congestion charging without including previous studies,” reported Caracol Radio.

Councilman Diego Garcia said the initiatives have not been approved because of “the lack of political leadership from the cabinet. There is no secretary who acts as an interlocutor with the Council. Attempts to generate discussions about the projects lies with the mayor . “

The councilman Dario Fernando Cepeda said it is not true that the Council intends to impede the development  of Bogota with decisions against the projects and stated that “The Mayor is hurting Bogota as he never identifies the inefficiencies of his administration. ”

The mayor responded via his Twitter account: “These councilors believe they hurt me by sinking these projects but actually harm Bogota and their own political career.”


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