Claudia Lopez, the first woman elected mayor of Bogota

The center-left candidate narrowly defeated his liberal opponent Carlos Fernando Galan on Sunday. She will take up her position on January 1, 2020.

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Claudia Lopez celebrates her victory in Bogota on Sunday 27 October. RAUL ARBOLEDA / AFP

"Change has won", rejoiced Sunday, October 27 Claudia Lopez, 49, first woman elected mayor of Bogota. In a sports center in the Colombian capital, the crowd came to applaud his victory and chanted the famous slogan: "If it's wrong" (" we can do it "). "Tonight I believe for the first time in democracy", Jubilee Janeth, 24 years old who voted for Claudia Lopez "Because she is independent, brave, incorruptible". Her neighbor, aged 78, does not hide her happiness to see "Finally a woman in power". Girl teacher and homosexual assumed, Claudia Lopez embodies the difference in a country macho and still very Catholic.

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It is at the head of a coalition between the Green Party and the Democratic Pole (left) that Mme Lopez won the election (one round) with 35.21% of the vote, and nearly three points ahead of his main opponent, the liberal Carlos Galan (32.48%). The successful candidate in the polls lost ground throughout the campaign, despite the support of many political, cultural and academic personalities.

"In Colombia, the left is not in the majority"said Claudia Lopez to justify her campaign anchored in the center. It focused on social policy, the environment, security and public transport, including a promise of quality public education and a metro. Bogota, where traffic jams have turned into a nightmare, is one of the few capitals not to rely on a metro system. "More than Claudia's program, it's her personality and what she represents that seduces", explains David, 35 years old.

Claudia Lopez, who lives with her partner, Angelica Lozano, a Green Party senator, has never hidden her homosexuality. But it was on her modest origins that she campaigned. "I come from a family like you", she often repeated. "Claudia is made alone, she owes nothing to anyone"recognize all his followers. Two of M's opponentsme Lopez, Carlos Galan and Miguel Uribe Turbay, were dolphins from recognized political families.

Excellent speaker hated by the right

It is thanks to successive grants that Mme Lopez was able to complete his studies in finance and international relations at a private university in Bogotá and then his master's degree in public administration and urban politics at Columbia University. While pursuing her political career, she then began a doctoral dissertation in political science at Northwestern University, which she supported this year.

The new mayor of Bogotá became known a few years ago, denouncing the links between paramilitary mafias and several members of the Colombian political staff, which led to death threats and allowed him to be elected in the Senate in 2014. Excellent speaker, she spared no attacks on Alvaro Uribe and her allies.

Hated by the right, Claudia Lopez is not liked by a certain left who reproaches him for his statements to the punch and its reversals of alliance. Vehement in debates, and sometimes reckless in her accusations, Claudia has earned a reputation as an aggressive woman. "It's hard to pick a soft voice on the paramilitaries and the corrupt"she answers. Its tempered character makes some fear a drift authoritarian. In the eyes of his followers, he is a guarantee of success.

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Some 36.6 million voters were called to ballot for regional and municipal elections. While the campaign was steeped in violence and marked by the assassination of seven candidates, the ballot was calm. The hard right led by former President Alvaro Uribe and his colt, the current president Ivan Duque, is receding in these polls. For the first time since the signing of the 2016 peace agreement, the former guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces participated in local elections. A hundred veterans were candidates. One of them was elected to the mayor of Turbaco, in the north of the country.

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