Claudia López, a gay woman, elected first-ever female mayor for Bogotá

Mayor-elect of Bogotá, Claudia López beams after Sunday’s election (Photo: ElPais.com)

History was created in Bogotá, on Sunday, October 27, as Colombia’s capital city elected Claudia López as its first-ever female mayor.

The South American country will forever remember the momentous victory of López and her Green Alliance party – which collected nearly 35.2 per cent of votes after all ballots were counted.

For many, being chosen by the electorate for Mayor of Bogotá is widely considered the second-most important political post in Colombia, after the presidency.

Bogotá’s newest mayor Claudia López (centre) erupts into celebration upon her confirmation as the city’s first-ever woman elected to lead Colombia’s second-most-powerful position. (Photo: Twitter @ClaudiaLopez)

López, a 49-year-old centre-left candidate, who championed herself as ‘incorruptible’, ran a fervent campaign, just edging out liberal Carlos Fernando Galán, who received 32.5% of the vote.

An outspoken journalist-turned-politician, López grew in popularity for her unabashed criticisms of right-wing politicians.

López, whose policies include increasing police presence on Bogotá’s streets, fighting child labour and creating better educational opportunities for people over 45, has also been heavily involved with anti-corruption efforts in Colombia.

“Not only did we win but we’re changing history,” López expressed on Twitter just after the results.

López, a 49-year-old journalist-turned-politician, championed herself as ‘incorruptible’ (Photo: ElPais.com)

López’s victory signals a massive step towards women’s equality in Bogotá, which has not had a female at the height of power since the city was founded in 1538.

What’s more, her win was a great cause for celebration among the country’s very vocal gay community. Her partner is Angélica Lozano, a fellow Green Alliance politician.

“This is the day of the woman,” López told supporters celebrating her victory in the capital. “We knew that only by uniting could we win. We did that. We united, we won, and we made history!”

The election campaign was not without conflict, however, as seven candidates were killed, another 12 attacked and 100 more received death threats – according to the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), a voting rights group.

About 36.6 million people were eligible to vote for 32 governors, more than 1,000 mayors and thousands of regional and local legislative positions. At 6 p.m. local time (2300 GMT), results showed about half of those eligible had voted.

Despite hiccups at some of the country’s 11,590 polling places – including landslides that delayed the start of voting at three locations.

Overall, Sunday’s vote was the most peaceful of recent local and regional elections, the head of the national registry office said.