With a vote of 15-8 the State Council ended a near five month battle on Tuesday between Petro and Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, ruling against the incumbent mayor.
By the end of the day, the court had rejected 23 of Petro’s appeals or “tutelas” to fight the order to remove the mayor from his position.
The high court believed that the appeals failed to demonstrate why the rights of citizens to elect and be elected were violated by the actions of Ordoñez.
This means that during the course of the day’s arguments, the majority of the judges ultimately permitted the Inspector General to remove a democratically elected official.
The next and final step in this saga that has heard international courts, former constitutional justices, thousands of angry citizens and politicians weigh in strongly, will be the overview of President Juan Manuel Santos.
Santos will be in charge of executing the dismissal of Petro, according to Semana magazine. He will also be responsible for arranging a special election to choose a new mayor.
In December 2013, Inspector General Ordoñez ordered the dismissal of Petro from the second most important elected position in Colombia due to “irregularities” while reforming the capital city’s garbage collection system in 2012. In trying to change the system to a public one from a privately contracted service, allegedly 9,920 tons of uncollected garbage were left on the streets. This prompted Ordoñez to announce his decision to remove Petro from office and ban him from serving public office for 15 years.
Since then, international courts have spoken against the decision of the Inspector General vehemently, hinting that these organizations could come to his defense, though that has yet to be seen.
Pro-Petro protests have been rallied in order to defend the politician in the name of “democracy” and there was even an attempt to hold a referendum to let the people decide if they wished their mayor to be ousted. That measure failed as well.
Furthermore, the former guerrilla turned-politician has seen a huge surge in support since Ordoñez announced his dismissal, turning the once unpopular mayor into a martyr against the administration.
However, the State Council has seemed to side against Petro at every turn prompting the mayor himself to grow more defeated time and time again.
Tuesday’s ruling finally represents the definitive decision in the Petro saga. What ramifications this could have for ongoing peace talks between Colombia’s government and the rebel group FARC, are yet to be seen, as Petro was a shining example of a guerrilla who was able to rise to political power.