Although the electoral route is no longer possible to remove the ex-guerrilla turned politician, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos still has the power to remove the mayor and replace him with a politician of his choice, according to news website Pulzo.
A case similar to this possible outcome was seen in the removal of ex-mayor of Bogota Samuel Moreno, who was removed for a “contract carousel” scandal in 2011 and was replaced by fellow partisan Clara Lopez, who carried out the rest of Moreno’s term, reported national newspaper El Tiempo.
In December 2013, Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez ordered the dismissal of Petro from his position of mayor due to “irregularities” while reforming the capital city’s garbage collection system in 2012.
In trying to change the garbage system from a privately contracted service to a public one, allegedly 9,920 tons of uncollected garbage was 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.
Petro was replaced by President Santos’ Minister of Labor and Liberal Party figure, Rafael Pardo, for one month, who was then replaced by Maria Mercedes Maldonado, a candidate chosen by Petro’s Progressive Party.
After Maldonado spent one day in office, Petro was reinstated by a Bogota court following an order by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.