Elected mayor of a Colombia small town revoked during mandate by residents

The elected mayor of Susa, a small town in Colombia, was revoked in a recall referendum. It’s only the second time this process leads to a mayor’s dismissal in the country.

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© Flavia Carpio

The mayor of Susa, Ximena Ballesteros Castillo, has been relieved from her mandate by a vote from the citizens of the town on February 20.

Susa is a small town of 6,000 people from the department of Cundinamarca in Central Colombia near Bogotá.

Ximena Ballesteros, a member of Centro Democrático the conservative party with Colombia President Iván Duque, has been criticized for several months for the financial management of the city. Petitioners also claimed she failed to comply with her program. The Democratic Center didn’t comment on the results.

The participation quorum needed 1,484 voters to validate the results. It accounted for 40% of the election day’s ballots. A total of 5,370 people were eligible to give their opinion on Sunday.

The threshold was reduced in 2015 from 50% to 40%. Similarly, the number of signatures required to activate a recall election also went from 40% to 30% of the votes obtained by the elected authority. This modification in 2015 of a law enforced in Colombia since 1991 greatly increased the number of requests.

Elected in 2019, Ballesteros is yet only the second mayor to be recalled in 70 similar attempts in Colombia. The first recall was of the mayor of Tasco in the department of Boyacá in 2018.

The recall referendum on Sunday gathered 1,672 voters; 97% of the ballots were in favor of the mayor’s dismissal.

Her mandate was supposed to end in 23 months. New elections will be carried out within the next two months for the end of the mandate.

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