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Medellin Mayor Resigns to Join Overheating Election Race

The progressive mayor of Colombia’s second largest city Medellin resigned to campaign for his candidate successor.

According to Mayor Daniel Quintero, the move seeks to prevent the reelection of his predecessor Federico Gutierrez, who is backed by far-right former President Alvaro Uribe and the local elite.

The mayor’s resignation allows him to campaign for Juan Carlos Upegui, Quintero’s former No Violence secretary and his wife’s cousin, without legal restriction.

Colombia’s electoral laws disallow sitting officials to take part in elections.

Upegui has lagged behind Gutierrez in all election polls, which could “reverse and spoil all the things done” by the outgoing administration, Quintero told Caracol Radio on Monday.

Additionally, the “Uribistas” want to “turn Medellin into a trench against the national government” of leftist President Gustavo Petro, said the mayor after his formal resignation.

Petro and Quintero have been trying to convince local gang leaders to help demobilize and reintegrate the approximately 14,000 members of Medellin crime syndicate “Oficina de Envigado.”

Gutierrez, whose former security secretary was convicted for his ties to the local mafia, has fiercely opposed the ongoing peace process in Medellin.

A day before Quintero’s resignation, Gutierrez’s campaign chief told media on Friday that the local mafia offered $611,000 (COP2.5 billion) for the assassination the elite candidate.

The claim surprised the Medellin Police Department, which said that it had received no information about the alleged kill plot.

Two rivals of Upegui and Gutierrez all but ended up in a fistfight over corruption allegations during a debate organized by a local newspaper

Medellin’s local elections have long been marred by corruption allegations and alleged interference by illegal armed groups.

Source : Colombia Reports