Colombia’s ex-mayors tout hands-on experience in presidential race

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Gideon Long in Bogotá

Iván Duque was just 42 when he was sworn in as Colombia’s youngest elected leader in more than a century and one of its least experienced. When he became president in 2018 the fresh-faced Mr Duque had served neither as minister, regional governor nor mayor.

Since then Mr Duque, who spent more than a decade at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, has struggled to connect with increasingly restive voters and a new generation of presidential hopefuls has sensed an opportunity play up its own grass roots experience ahead of next year’s elections.

As would-be candidates begin jockeying for position a trend is emerging: many presidential hopefuls are former mayors with experience of running cities such as Bogotá, Medellín and Barranquilla — precisely the experience that Mr Duque lacks.