Electoral earthquake in Medellin: anti-corruption candidate defeats Uribe ally

Daniel Quintero (Image: Twitter)

Medellin ‘s political system was turned upside down on Sunday as anti-corruption candidate Daniel Quintero defeated the far-right ally of former President Alvaro Uribe.

Quintero’s convincing victory over controversial dynasty politician and former Senator Alfredo Ramos is a gigantic blow for Colombia’s ruling Democratic Center party of which Medellin has been its stomping ground.

Alfredo Ramos (R) and his controversial father, Luis Alfredo.

While outgoing mayor Federico Gutierrez and President Ivan Duque’s far-right party are fierce opponents of Colombia’s peace process, Quintero has been a vocal supporter of peace.

More importantly, the new mayor-elect has been an outspoken critic of Uribe, which was considered political suicide in the former president’s home town until Sunday.

The implications of Ramos’ defeat in the stomping ground of the “uribistas” are almost impossible to overstate; Medellin has rejected the controversial elites that have run the city and the surrounding Antioquia province unchallenged since recent memory.

Ramos’ father, who has been one of Uribe’s closest allies for two decades, is one of the most powerful politicians in Antioquia, in part because of shoddy alliances with dynasties whose members have been sentenced to prison for their ties to the local mafia.

Quintero, who began the race as an underdog, defeated Ramos despite extraordinarily dirty smear campaigns and even death threats.

Not one poll predicted his victory, but the candidate’s eloquent performances in local debates and his ability to turn the smear campaigns to his favor appear to have been decisive.

Medellin election results

Source: National Registry

Over the past four years, the mayor-elect has gone from being a relatively unknown member of the city council to the leading critic against the outgoing mayor, local energy company EPM and Medellin’s traditional politics in general.

On January 1, Medellin’s first Uribe critic since the fall of the Medellin Cartel is set to take the wheel of Colombia’s second largest city and Ramos may take Quintero’s place in the city council.

The electorate of Medellin has done the unthinkable; it has binned Uribe and his controversial allies.

The king is dead, long live the republic.

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