Colombia, in a historic first, elects gay woman as Mayor of Bogotá

Mayor-elect of Bogotá, Claudia López beams after Sunday’s election (Photo: ElPais.com)

“This is the day of the woman… We united, we won, and we made history!”

— Claudia López, mayor-elect for Colombia’s capital and largest city, Bogotá.

A huge moment of triumph for women everywhere, history was created in Bogotá, on Sunday, October 27, as Colombia’s capital city elected Claudia López as its first-ever female mayor.

After knocking at the door for the better part of 400 years, Bogotá finally has a woman at the helm of metropolitan power.

The South American country will forever remember the momentous victory of López and her Green Alliance party – which collected nearly 35.2 percent of votes after all ballots were counted.

Bogotá’s newest mayor Claudia López (centre) erupts into celebration upon her confirmation as the city’s first-ever woman elected to lead Colombia’s second-most-powerful position. (Photo: Twitter @ClaudiaLopez)

López, a 49-year-old centre-left candidate, championed herself as ‘incorruptible’, running a fervent campaign to just edge out liberal Carlos Fernando Galán, who received 32.5% of the vote.

An outspoken journalist-turned-politician, López grew in popularity for her unabashed criticisms of right-wing politicians.

López has also been heavily involved with anti-corruption efforts in Colombia. Arguably, her win could be attributed to wide-sweeping policies to include: increasing police presence on Bogotá’s streets, fighting child labour and creating better educational opportunities for people over 45.

The ‘incorruptible’ López in Colombia’s second-most-powerful role…

For many, the Mayor of Bogotá is a significant position; widely considered the second-most important political post in Colombia, after the presidency.

López, a 49-year-old journalist-turned-politician, championed herself as ‘incorruptible’ (Photo: ElPais.com)

“Not only did we win but we’re changing history,” López expressed on Twitter just after the results.

López’s victory signals a massive step towards women’s equality in Bogotá, which has not had a female at the height of power since the city was founded in 1538.

What’s more, her win was a great cause for celebration among the country’s very vocal gay community. Her partner is Angélica Lozano, a fellow Green Alliance politician.

“This is the day of the woman,” López told supporters celebrating her victory in the capital. “We knew that only by uniting could we win. We did that. We united, we won, and we made history!”

Photo: Wikipedia

Elections not as peaceful as Colombia hoped…yet

The election campaign was not without conflict, however, as seven candidates were killed, another 12 attacked and 100 more received death threats – according to the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), a voting rights group.

About 36.6 million people were eligible to vote for 32 governors, more than 1,000 mayors and thousands of regional and local legislative positions. At 6 p.m. local time (2300 GMT), results showed about half of those eligible had voted.

Despite hiccups at some of the country’s 11,590 polling places – including landslides that delayed the start of voting at three locations.

Overall, Sunday’s vote was the most peaceful of recent local and regional elections, the head of the national registry office said.