Colombia’s capital Bogota elected Enrique Peñalosa, a centrist former mayor, to lead the city’s administration between 2016 and 2019, ending a 12-year rule by scandal-ridden leftist administrations.
Peñalosa only just beat Liberal Party candidate Rafael Pardo, who had been also been endorsed by the U Party of President Juan Manuel Santos.
The winner, initially running on an independent ticket, also received the support of center-right party Radical Change of vice-President German Vargas.
The coalition and Peñalosa’s renowned work as mayor between 1998 and 2001 allowed him to defeat Pardo with only 4.5 percentage point difference after having counted 96.34% of the votes.
Peñalosa received 33% of the votes. Pardo 28.5%.
The vote was an electoral punishment for Clara Lopez of the Social Democratic Polo Democratico Party, whose members and former members have run the capital’s administration since 2004, but have been under heavy criticism and even criminal pressure.
Former Mayor Samuel Moreno (2008-2011) is in jail awaiting trial over a major corruption scandal, while outgoing mayor Gustavo Petro is suffering some of the country’s lowest approval ratings while criticized over a failure to effectively carry out projects.
Lopez received 18% of the votes.
Francisco Santos of former President Alvaro Uribe’s Democratic Center party, made no chance and received 12% of the votes.
Peñalosa will take office on January 1, 2016.