Colombian regional and municipal elections overview

On 27 October, Colombia staged its first regional and municipal elections since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016. More than 3,000 candidates stood for regional assemblies, municipal councils and as mayors. The election run-up was marred by high levels of violence, with seven candidates murdered and more than 100 threatened.

Below are some notable aspects of the elections.

  • Bogota elected a woman mayor for the first time. Green Party candidate Claudia López ran on a platform of anti-corruption, equal rights and improving education and health services. A former journalist, she had previously investigated paramilitary links in Colombia’s political system. She is also the first openly LGBT mayor of Bogota, a position often considered the most influential political role in the country after the president. With the backing of some left and opposition sectors she beat the further left candidate Hollman Morris into third place.
  • The governing right-wing Democratic Centre (CD) suffered setbacks seemingly in response to the ongoing human rights crisis in the country. There was a surprise in Colombia’s second city, Medellin, the heartland of conservative politics and of right-wing former president Álvaro Uribe, who founded the CD and remains highly influential in national politics. The Uribe-backed candidate Alfredo Ramos was beaten to the mayor’s office by independent Daniel Quintero.
  • Former FARC member Julián Conrado was elected as mayor of Turbaco in northern Colombia although he did not stand for the FARC political party. Widely-known as a musician, Conrado won just under 50 per cent of votes as a candidate for the Colombia Humana progressive coalition.
  • Marino Grueso, who was backed by the FARC and other left-wing parties, was elected mayor of Guapi in the southwest Cauca region, while former FARC guerrilla Edgardo Figueroa stood for the Independent Social Alliance (ASI) party and was elected mayor of Puerto Caicedo in Putumayo, southern Colombia.