The political party Cambio Radical announced yesterday, Thursday, that it will endorse the candidacy of the former police chief, retired General Jorge Luis Vargas, for the mayorship of Bogota. Along with Vargas, there are now 8 candidates vying to replace Claudia López as the mayor in the upcoming October elections.
Cambio Radical enters the race for the Mayor’s Office
With this announcement, Germán Vargas Lleras’ party enters the race for the Mayor’s Office of the Colombian capital. Jorge Luis Vargas boasts an extensive career as a police officer, serving as head of the intelligence units of the DIJIN and the highest-ranking officer in the second half of President Duque’s term.
Cambio Radical is betting on General Vargas’ experience in security, precisely at a time when insecurity is one of the main concerns for Bogota residents. This has been repeatedly mentioned by the current mayor, Claudia López, and is confirmed by studies that show an increase in the perception of insecurity among citizens in the capital.
Political rumors had indicated that candidate Rodrigo Lara was going to be supported by Cambio Radical. However, Lara chose to run as an independent candidate, opting for the collection of signatures to obtain popular endorsement. Finally, it is confirmed that Vargas Lleras’ political party will have its own candidate.
An experienced police officer
Born in Bucaramanga, 56-year-old Jorge Luis Vargas is the son and son-in-law of police chiefs. He served as head of the police force from December 2020 to August 2022, during President Iván Duque’s administration. He was removed from his position with the arrival of President Petro, who replaced him with Henry Sanabria. Now, he embarks on his first political experience, aspiring to the second most important position, after that of the country’s president.
Race for the mayoralty
This week, new candidates have been confirmed. As of now, eight contenders have announced their candidacy to occupy the mayor’s office in Bogota, starting on January 1st. The confirmed candidates are Juan Diego Oviedo, Diego Molano, Carlos Galán, Rodrigo Lara, Jorge Robledo, Herman Martínez, Gustavo Bolívar, and Jorge Luis Vargas.
Other lesser-known names, such as Nicolás Ramos and Fabián Paredes, are pending confirmation of their candidacy. There are even rumors in Bogota’s politics suggesting the possibility of two-time mayor Enrique Peñalosa running for a third term, which, as of today, has not even been announced.
For the first time, elections will be held in two rounds
In a new departure for the local elections of 2023, the voting will take place in two rounds. If, after the first round of voting on October 29, no candidate obtains more than 40%, and a difference greater than 10% compared to the second candidate, the two candidates with the highest votes will advance to the second round. This second round would take place on November 19.
This new format could disadvantage candidates with a more conservative profile, as candidate Vargas could take votes away from the candidate of the Centro Democrático party, former minister Diego Molano.