Maldonado is to replace interim mayor Rafael Pardo, who in turn replaced Gustavo Petro, removed from office in December 2013.
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez ordered the dismissal of Petro due to “irregularities” while reforming the capital city’s garbage collection system in 2012.
Maria Mercedes Maldonado worked as Habitat Secretary in the Petro administration, dealing with urbanization and public services, as well as being a lawyer and having a masters in urban planning.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos made the announcement in Bogota before leaving for Mexico for the tribute ceremony to recently deceased author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
In both the statement and on twitter Santos described Maldonado as a strong woman who can “certainly do very important work in the role of mayor, especially during election times.”
Hemos encargado a la Dra. Maria Mercedes Maldonado para la Alcaldía de Bogotá. Una mujer que sin duda puede hacer una labor muy importante.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) abril 21, 2014
Maldonado was one of three candidates including Antonio Navarro, elected Senator and Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo, former Government Secretary for the Petro administration who were put forward to Santos by the Green Alliance (Alianza Verde – AV) as candidates for Mayor.
Academically Maldonado has worked as a professor at the Institute of Urban Studies at the National University of Colombia as well as being a researcher and collaborator on many projects dealing with urban issues across Colombia.
In the public sphere, she was appointed Secretary of Planning, eventually becoming responsible for tackling problems such as social segregation and climate change during Petro’s run for Mayor.
Under the Petro administration ,Maldonado was made Secretary of Habitat dealing with housing projects and urbanization in Bogota as well as being a key member of Petro’s development plan “Bogota Humana,” which is to be continued.
Removed Mayor Gustavo Petro took to twitter to congratulate his successor and state that Bogota is now in “your hands.”
Retorna la alcaldía de Bogotá al movimiento ciudadano que ganó las elecciones: Progresistas. Maria Mercedes “Bogotá Humana” en tus manos
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) abril 21, 2014
Even those who Maldonado beat out for the job were positive about her appointment, with Antonio Navarro wishing the Mayoress luck in her new position.
Lo habia dicho desde hace dos semanas. Escogerian a Maria Mercedes Maldonado. Mucha suerte en su gestion
— Antonio Navarro (@navarrowolff) abril 21, 2014
- Presidente Santos designó a María Mercedes Maldonado como Alcaldesa (e) de Bogotá (President’s Office)
- Santos nombró como alcaldesa interina de Bogotá a María Mercedes Maldonado (El Espectador)
- María Mercedes Maldonado es la nueva alcaldesa (e) de Bogotá (Semana)
- Pardo avanzó en movilidad y llega Maldonado, la más cercana a Petro (El Tiempo)