Several notable Colombian politicians expressed their disagreement with the ruling of Colombia's Constitutional Court to hold a referendum to remove Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro.
The court ordered on Tuesday that the recall referendum must occur within 60 days, however Petro's term will expire at the end of this year, with new mayoral elections set to be held on October 25, 2015.
“It isn't right to subject the city to a process like this and then two months later hold new elections,” Rafael Pardo told El Telegrafo. Pardo is a conservative politician and a candidate in the upcoming elections.
Clara Lopez, the mayoral candidate for the leftist Democratic Pole echoed Pardo's comments, saying, “This is not the moment to reactivate a recall as it does not have a practical effect, precisely at this moment when the (electoral) race is starting, what it does is generate confusion in the city.”
Hollmas Morris, another leading candidate for mayor, told El Telegrafo, “I will be the first to take the streets to defend (the Petro administration). Petro isn't going anywhere. I don't see the point in holding the recall referendum now but we should be vigilant and not let our guard down.”
Several other mayoral candidates from across the political spectrum also expressed reservations.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the electoral body must divert resources meant for the mayoral election to the running of the recall referendum. The head of the electoral body, Carlos Ariel Sanchez, has said he respects the courts ruling but will nonetheless seek to have it nullified.
Mayor Petro has said he embraces the challenge and is confident he will win should it be held.
“The referendum is welcome. This is our battlefield. We are always subject to the will of the people, they know what we have contributed to their social development. We do not fear a recall,” said Petro.
Petro was temporarily ousted as mayor in 2014 after Colombia's conservative inspector-general ordered his removal and banned him from holding public office for 15 years. He was eventually reinstated after mass protests and a court ruling.