(WB) A bisexual Colombian congresswoman on Sunday became the first openly LGBT person elected to the country’s Senate.
Angélica Lozano of the Green Alliance received 105,299 votes. She received the second highest number of votes of the candidates for her party who ran for the Senate.
Lozano, a former member of the Bogotá City Council who was elected to the Colombian House of Representatives in 2014, is among the 14 openly LGBT candidates who ran in the elections.
Lozano is the first openly LGBT person elected to the Colombian Congress. Her partner, Sen. Claudia López, was not out when she was elected.
Mauricio Toro, an openly gay man who is a member of the Green Alliance, was elected to the House with 19,045 votes. Tatiana Piñeros, a transgender woman who was a Senate candidate with Lista de la Decencia, a coalition of leftist parties, did not win.
Sunday’s election is the first to take place in Colombia since President Juan Manuel Santos’ government signed a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The agreement allowed FARC, which is now a political party, to participate in the election. Former President Álvaro Uribe, who founded the center-right Democratic Center party in 2013, is among those who strongly oppose the agreement and FARC’s participation in the country’s political process.
Members of the Democratic Center party on Sunday formally chose Iván Duque as their candidate to succeed Santos. Former Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez, who opposes LGBT rights, received less than 7 percent of the votes from members of his own party.
Members of the leftist Progressive Movement on Sunday also chose former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro as their party’s presidential candidate.
A lack of ballots for these consultas — which are similar to primaries and caucuses in the U.S. — at polling places in Bogotá, Medellin, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga and other cities across the country sparked outrage among voters, party leaders and the candidates themselves. Election officials announced less than four hours before the polls closed that voters could use photocopied ballots to vote in the consultas.
Colombia’s presidential elections will take place on May 27. The second round will take place on June 17 is no candidate receives a majority of votes.
López is a candidate for vice president with Coalición Colombia, which includes the Green Alliance.
— Michael K. Lavers, Washington Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association.