The new mayor takes over the capital district’s leadership from interim mayor Clara Lopez, who replaced Bogota’s former mayor Samuel Moreno, who’s in jail on corruption charges.
Petro, a former M-19 guerrilla, was elected mayor in the October 30 elections together with some 1,100 other mayors and 32 governors.
The socialist vowed to fight rampant corruption and reduce inequality in Bogota, a city of some 8 million people.
Petro has been one of Colombia’s most important politicians over the past decade and, as political opponent of former President Alvaro Uribe in the senate, personally uncovered high-profile scandals like “parapolitics,” the extensive ties between paramilitary organization AUC, and the wiretap scandal that has so far resulted in the incarceration of Uribe’s former chief of staff and the dismantling of intelligence agency DAS.
In Bogota, Petro faces the task of improving the city’s failing road infrastructure that was left in chaos because of Moreno’s alleged corruption with public works companies that stalled infrastructure projects in order to be able to charge more.
During the Moreno administration, the city also experienced an increase in violent crime and robberies.
Petro will be leading the capital district’s government until 2014.