Bogota mayoral candidate Carlos Fernando Galan replaced German Varon Wednesday as the director of the Cambio Radical Party amid allegations that Varon allowed candidates with criminal records to receive party endorsements.
Varon resigned Tuesday as the co-director of the party after an internal dispute within Cambio Radical. One subject of contention was that Varon exceeded his one-year term limit as the director.
More importantly, party members argued, was that Varon did not revoke the endorsements of 238 candidates with legal problems, as requested by the interior minister in a nation-wide sweep to cleanse parties of criminal candidates.
According to weekly Semana, after an internal investigation, Cambio Radical discovered that 91 of these candidates had convictions for crimes such as drug trafficking and illegal possession of weapons. Another nine candidates currently have warrants for their arrest.
The party also found that 137 of these endorsed candidates are under investigation for drug trafficking, crimes against humanity, electoral crimes, conspiracy to commit crimes, and crimes against public administration.
“I have given a fight to deny many endorsements,” Varon contested. However, he admitted that he had bent to the will of other voices within the party.
Galan, the new Cambio Radical director, is the son of assassinated presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan. He is currently in fourth place in the latest Bogota mayoral polls.