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News > Latin America

Petro and Duque Win Colombian Primaries Amid Fraud Allegations

  • Gustavo Petro received 85 percent of the votes, while his opponent Carlos Caicedo received 15 percent.

    Gustavo Petro received 85 percent of the votes, while his opponent Carlos Caicedo received 15 percent.

Published 11 March 2018

The Electoral Mission said "unauthorized information desks" had been set up in front of polling stations "with lists of voters and transportation ready to receive them." 

Results in Colombia's legislative elections and interparty primaries show Ivan Duque and Gustavo Petro winning the right-wing and left-wing coalition vote respectively, as allegations of electoral fraud continue to surface.

Live Updates: Colombia Polls Close, Irregularities Reported 

Senator Ivan Duque (2014-2018), who benefits from the support of right-wing hardliner and former President Alvaro Uribe, won 68 percent of the votes.

Petro, who had been leading polls despite smear campaigns alleging he would bring 'Castrochavismo' to Colombia, received 85 percent of the vote.

The Electoral Observer Mission (OEM) – which had warned of the risk of fraud in hundreds of municipalities in the run-up to the elections –reported numerous inconsistencies as videos surfaced on social media appearing to show vote-buying and other fraudulent activities.

"Unauthorized information desks" had been set up in front of polling stations in various towns "with list of voters and transportation ready to receive them," the OEM said. 

The OEM also highlighted the lack of accreditation "generating protests": at least 141 towns registered more voters than inhabitants, especially in the provinces of Antioquia, Boyaca and Santander. In addition, 30 percent of voters surveyed by the mission said they could not cast their ballots in secret.

The National Civil Registry said ballots had run out in Medellin, Cucuta and Manizales, but voters could use photocopies: "An agreement was reached with the political parties and movements, due to the budget restriction and they authorized the continuation of the procedure with photocopies," said Juan Carlos Galindo.


Electoral authorities closed the polls closed at 4 p.m. local time, despite complaints about the shortage of accreditation cards allowing voters to choose presidential candidates for the right-wing and the left-wing coalitions.

Petro repeated Sunday that electoral authorities failed to organize the process with transparency, complaining about the shortage of cards for registered voters.

"We already knew that the office of registration was not capable of transparency in the elections," he told reporters after casting his vote in the south of Bogota.

The former mayor of the capital was surrounded by almost 100 people shouting: "I came here because they did not pay for my vote."

"The jury in polling offices have systematically denied left-wing voters the registration card," Petro said, noting that the lack of transparency will affect the election of left-wing and right-wing coalition candidates alike.

"It seems that both consults are being affected, not just mine, from the various complaints I've heard from members of the Democratic Center."

Posting on Twitter later, Petro said: "The E14 forms that report the results in consultation will not be digitized online as required by law. 
"I denounced it before and now it becomes reality. Colombia is in fraud mode."

Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, however, described Sunday's elections as "the most calm in the matter of electoral violence and public order in at least two generations of Colombians."

Yarumal, in Antioquia, was one of the municipalities that was classified as being at risk of fraud and violence, but Villegas said there had been no reports of either.

"There I could see that all their rural voting tables were open: in 40 years that had not been seen, and this is the first time that municipality voted without any threat," he said.

Right-wing candidates Marta Lucia Ramirez and Alejandro Ordoñez received 25 percent and six percent respectively. Because she ranked second, Ramirez was automatically chosen as Duque's number two on the presidential ticket.

Uribe was the most popular candidate for a seat in Senate with his far-right party Centro Democratico (16 percent), followed by former Mayor of Bogota Antanas Mockus (Green Party).

The Cambio Radical Party received 13 percent, followed by the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party and the Party of Unity (12 percent). The Green Party scored 8 percent, double the leftist Polo Democratico.

The FARC registered 0.3 percent support, but the party is automatically entitled to 10 seats in Congress as per the peace agreement signed in November 2016.

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