• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > Latin America

Fearing Election Fraud, Colombia Boosts Observers, Security

  • "No progress was made in conducting an independent and comprehensive audit," the Electoral Observation Mission has warned. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 May 2018

"No progress was made in conducting an independent and comprehensive audit," the Electoral Observation Mission has warned.

Amid widespread concerns about electoral fraud in Colombia's forthcoming May 27 electionsobservers and leading leftist candidate Gustavo Petro have called for increased monitoring of the voting process.  

Gustavo Petro: 'Colombia Still Struggling With Voter Fraud'

Earlier this year, the State Council concluded that the vote-counting system used by the National Registry had failed to prevent the rigging of the 2014 legislative elections.

The Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) on Thursday called on all political parties "to prepare themselves for the monitoring of the… elections with adequately trained electoral witnesses," El Pais reported.   

"No progress was made in conducting an independent and comprehensive audit" that could prevent computer fraud in this year's elections, the MOE said.

The Prosecutor General's Office, in charge of prosecuting electoral crimes, has yet to announce any concrete steps to combat electoral fraud.

Petro has accused President Juan Manuel Santos and Juan Carlos Galindo – the current head of the National Registry, who was also in charge of the 2006 presidential elections – of trying to rig the vote in favor of Bogota dynasty politician German Vargas Lleras.

Anti-corruption candidate Petro, among the leading names in the polls, also called on his followers to register as electoral witnesses and take to the streets after the polls close.    

"Starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday May 27, all people of Colombia Humana are called to assemble in all public squares of all municipalities because we will not allow election fraud. The people's monitoring is what can save Colombia's elections," Petro was reported as saying by El Pais.   

Petro accused Santos of refusing entry to an EU technical commission and failing to request the help of the U.S.-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in time for the upcoming elections. 

Think tank Fundacion Paz y Reconciliacion and influential Senator Armando Benedetti (U Party) has cautioned that the electoral authority's failure to act may have resulted in more fraud committed in March when voters elected a new Congress. 

"The national registry, instead of using state officials to serve as jurors, hired private companies – 39,000 in total – the majority of whom appear to not exist," Fundacion Paz y Reconciliacion said. 

Ahead of the May 27 vote, polls point to two favorites: right-wing candidate Ivan Duque, and leftist candidate Gustavo Petro. 

According to El Pais' average of polls, Duque is leading with about 37 percent of intended votes; Petro has about 27 percent; Sergio Fajardo is on 16 percent, and German Vargas Lleras has secured 11 percent. 

The figures suggest it will prove difficult for any of the candidates to win more than half the votes in the first round, in which case a second round of voting would be held in June. 

El Pais also noted that even though Petro has won support among segments of the population who traditionally abstain from voting – especially young people and those in low- and medium-income groups – he has much to lose in the event they abstain again.   

Post with no comments.