Petro says only Colombia´s President Santos can fire him from office
Tens of thousands danced and chanted political slogans in Bogotá´s Plaza de Bolívar Friday in an attempt to save threatened Mayor Gustavo Petro´s political future
Petro attempted to draw Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos into the increasingly complicated process that will determine whether the Bogotá mayor is removed as mayor and banned from public service for 15 years.
“Only the president of the republic can dismiss the mayor,” Petro said in a rousing speech, to a crowd estimated at between 60,000 and 100,000 persons, who came out to support his battle against being fired part way through his term.
Inspector-General Alejandro Ordóñez set off the political crisis last Monday when he announced Petro would be fired for his restructuring of Bogotá´s privatized garbage collection services. Ordóñez said Petro mismanaged the restructuring and made it less competitive.
Petro has rallied his supporters in three public demonstrations while he challenges Ordóñez´s political and legal right to remove him from office.
Santos said Friday he will meet individually with Petro and Ordóñez in an attempt to sort out the political crisis.
Both Colombia´s largest rebel army, the FARC, and a newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Colombia have stated removing Bogotá´s elected mayor – a former guerrilla leader who gave up violent tactics in a previous peace accord – would endanger the current peace process.
The United Nations says it wants to meet with Colombian authorities to determine whether a massive violation of human rights has occurred against Bogotá voters.
And, now Colombia´s national prosecutor is in conflict with Ordóñez´s office over whether the harsh edit against Petro violated principle´s of equality before the law.
Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre – a supporter of Santo´s efforts to end 50 years of destructive armed conflict with the FARC – is also in conflict with Ordóñez´s office in its attempts to obtain the evidence used to make the ruling against Petro.
Whether Petro will be tossed from the office seems more uncertain by the day.
And the Bogotá mayor, who was struggling badly in opinion polls, seems to have had his public image restored by stunning attempt to remove him from office and end his political career.
Meanwhile, Petro´s attempt at rallying public support took on a festive atmosphere, with the tens of thousands of supporters clogging Bogotá´s streets as they marched to the centre of the city from 19 different starting points. Once in the massive Plaza de Bolívar they danced, chanted political slogans and enjoyed ours of free music in a free concert.
For more information, please read, in English: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25372868