The Colombian Inspector General's Office on Monday confirmed its own decision to oust leftist Gustavo Petro as mayor of this capital, though President Juan Manuel Santos will have the final say.
The sanction, prompted by a December 2012 waste management crisis in Bogota, was announced Dec. 9 and also bars the 53-year-old mayor from holding any public post for 15 years.
Petro, a one-time guerrilla and former senator, asked the IG office to review its decision while simultaneously seeking to have the matter removed from Inspector Alejandro Ordoñez's jurisdiction, alleging that the prominent rightist was biased against him.
The IG's office flatly rejected Petro's request to have his appeal reviewed by a special prosecutor not subject to Ordoñez.
Trash piled up in Bogota for several days in December 2012 after Petro decided to shift responsibility for waste management from four private firms to the municipal water company.
The mayor harmed "the principle of freedom of enterprise" and put at risk "the environment and human health of the residents of Bogota," Ordoñez said in announcing his ruling.
The decision has been roundly criticized in Colombia and abroad, with even Petro's political foes accusing Ordoñez of having gone too far.
Once Ordoñez formally notifies Santos, it will be up to the conservative president - running this year for a second term - to decide whether or not to implement the ruling.
Even before Monday's announcement, Petro asked Santos to delay a decision on his ouster at least long enough to allow the mayor to face Bogota voters in a recall referendum set for March 2.
The push to recall Petro is led by Miguel Gomez Martinez, a member of Santos' party who represents a Bogota district in the Colombian Congress.
The recall effort needed to collect signatures from at least 289,263 registered voters in Bogota. The campaign presented 641,707 signatures, of which 357,250 were deemed valid, election officials said.
For the recall vote to count, turnout must equal 55 percent or more of the 2.24 million ballots cast in the 2011 mayoral election.
Petro, who was speaking at a public event on Monday when he learned of the IG office's ruling, urged his supporters to mount a "massive, permanent" demonstration in Bogota's Bolivar Square.
"From Bogota, we call on all the democratic forces of the country, on all of the citizenry to mobilize against the coup d'etat," Petro said on Twitter. EFE