The candidate for the mayorship of Bogota, Carlos Galan, continues to gather support. It was announced today that Alejandro Gaviria, former Minister of Education under Gustavo Petro, is joining his campaign. Gaviria, who served as the rector of the University of Los Andes, is the latest addition to the campaign of the candidate who is currently leading in the polls for the October 29th elections. Before this, Galan also garnered support from various members of the Liberal Party and the Green Alliance.
Galan, the frontrunner in all the polls
Carlos Fernando Galan is the son of politician Luis Carlos Galan, a presidential candidate who was assassinated in August 1989 during his campaign when he was poised for victory. His younger son has revived the banner of the party his father founded, the New Liberalism. He previously attempted to become the mayor of the capital four years ago but was defeated by the current mayor, Claudia Lopez.
In the latest poll, released a few days ago, Galan is in the lead with 32.4% of the votes. He is followed by Juan Daniel Oviedo, with 20.1% of the votes, and Gustavo Bolivar, with 18.2%. Some polls differ on who would accompany Galan in the likely runoff election scheduled for November 19th. Up to now, the candidate best positioned for the final face-off with the New Liberalism candidate was Gustavo Bolivar, from the Historic Pact. However, the latest poll released this week suggests that this position would be occupied by Juan Daniel Oviedo, the former director of DANE. The rest of the candidates would have no chance.
What all the statistics agree on is the victory, both in the first and second round, of Carlos Fernando Galan, who would become the mayor of Bogota at the age of 46 with his program “Bogota walks safely.”
Gaviria and the impossible alliance with Petro
Despite his primarily academic profile and years of teaching economics, Alejandro Gaviria has a long career in public life. As the Minister of Health under President Juan Manuel Santos, he was one of the star additions to Gustavo Petro’s first government in August 2022, where he served as the Minister of Education for only six months.
Gaviria’s inclusion in the Petro government provided a veneer of moderation, similar to the involvement of figures like Minister José Antonio Ocampo, who was in charge of Economics, and Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva in Colombia’s first leftist government. A year later, only the Foreign Minister remains in a government that has lost support beyond the members of the Historic Pact coalition that supports the government in the legislature.
The specific reason for Gaviria’s departure from Petro’s cabinet was significant disagreements between the Minister of Education and his own government’s healthcare reform project. The reform aimed to strengthen public management of a sensitive sector that has been in constant crisis due to the bankruptcies of private companies that provide services funded by the state.
Now, Gaviria is joining Carlos Galán’s candidacy, which suggests some role in a presumed government of the New Liberalism candidate, if the current polls confirm his electoral victory.