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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 January, 2004, 22:43 GMT
Leftist Bogota mayor begins work
Garzon inauguration
The post is seen as the second most important in Colombia
A former trade union leader has taken up his post as mayor of the Colombian capital, Bogota, pledging to fight poverty, hunger and unemployment.

Luis Eduardo Garzon is one of more than 1,000 mayors beginning terms of office after being elected in October.

Mayor of Bogota is considered the second most important political post in Colombia after the presidency.

The election of Mr Garzon was a defeat for the centre-right government of President Alvaro Uribe.

We have a responsibility to manage things well, and to be completely efficient.
Luis Eduardo Garzon

It was also one of the biggest electoral victories for the country's left.

Holding the mayorship of Bogota provides a powerful launch pad for opponents of hardline President Uribe.

Intimidation

Opponents have attacked Mr Uribe's plans for tax hikes and labour reforms aimed at raising cash to pay for his war on leftist rebels.

Mr Garzon - a former Communist union leader - promised to defend his comrades, who have long been the target of intimidation.

"We have never had the opportunity to govern," Mr Garzon said in his inauguration speech in Bogota's Plaza Bolivar.

"We have a responsibility to manage things well, and to be completely efficient."




SEE ALSO:
Colombian 'rebel leader' detained
16 Dec 03  |  Americas



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