Leopoldo López (April 29, 1971)
is a Venezuelan politician and democratic activist.
He is the founder and National Coordinator of Voluntad Popular (Popular Will), a social movement and political party composed of thousands of activists and community, labor and youth leaders from all regions of Venezuela. Voluntad Popular promotes a conciliatory message of peace, prosperity and progress and is committed to construction of a better future where all Venezuelans have access to economic, political and social opportunities.
In 2000 Leopoldo was elected Mayor of Chacao (the geographical, commercial and cultural heart of Caracas) with 51% of the vote and reelected in 2004 with 81% of the vote. He finished his second term as mayor with 92% approval. He won recognition from Transparency International as the most transparent and efficient Municipality of Venezuela. In 2008 he was named the Best Third World Mayor after the Mayors of Cape Town and Zurich by the organization World City Mayors. Leopoldo in 2009 was awarded the prize for "Most Innovative Person in times of Adversity" by Future Capitals in the city of Abu Dhabi.
In 2008 Leopoldo led all polls in the election for mayor of the city of Caracas, the second largest political office after the Presidency of the Republic. Despite support from more than 65% of the residents, Leopoldo was unconstitutionally disqualified from running for any elective office, based on a decree from the ruling government that was never tried in a court of law.
After a lengthy investigation and hearings, on September 16, 2011, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the Venezuelan state had violated of the political rights of Leopoldo López and disabled millions of Venezuelans to vote for their preferred candidate. The Court ordered the immediate restoration of Leopoldo's political rights. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan government refused to comply, and in January 2012, Leopoldo decided to to endorse candidate Henrique Capriles in that year's presidential election.
Leopoldo has a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1994-1996), and graduated Cum Laude from Kenyon College in 1993 where he later received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the recognition of his work as a young political leader in Venezuela.