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News > Colombia

President Petro Encourages Colombians to Vote in Peace

  • President Gustavo Petro in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 29, 2023.

    President Gustavo Petro in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 29, 2023. | Photo: X/ @PetroGustavo

Published 29 October 2023

On Sunday, 38.9 million citizens will choose 1,102 mayors, 32 governors, and subnational authorities.

After casting his vote on Sunday, President Gustavo Petro urged Colombians to participate in the local and regional elections peacefully and to respect the results.


Colombians Attend Territorial Elections Threatened by Violence

He voted at a polling station in the Puente Aranda neighborhood in the southern part of Bogota, not at Bolivar Square, the usual polling place for presidents and authorities.

From this voting station, the president assured that "all the electoral materials have been distributed to all parts of the country," so the elections will take place nationwide.

He also warned about vote-buying, a common phenomenon in Colombian elections, emphasizing that this crime "takes away the voter's freedom and seriously undermines democracy." He called for reporting and denouncing such activities.

The text reads, "President Gustavo Petro arrives at his voting station at the Marco Antonio Carreño School in Puente Aranda to exercise his right to vote on the 2023 territorial elections."

"The security forces have a presidential order to protect the lives of people attending the election day and to pursue electoral crimes. Vote-buying is a crime, and the police have been instructed to apprehend those who commit this crime," he added.

"I expect all citizens, regardless of the election results in any part of the country, to maintain calm and prudence. This is a day of peace in which Colombia must show the world that it has decisively voted for peace."

Yesterday in Gamarra City, however, public official Duperly Arevalo tragically passed away after a mob set fire to the local headquarters of the National Registry, the institution responsible for organizing the elections.

"It is an obviously lamentable incident that occurred yesterday and should not be repeated today anywhere in the country," Petro said.

"Colombia has experienced sad moments in its national history around this kind of escalation, sometimes even motivated from outside, sometimes arising from political struggles. That's why we lament the murder of Arevalo and hope that justice will be served," he added.

On Sunday, 38.9 million citizens will choose 1,102 mayors, 32 governors, as well as members of municipal councils, departmental assemblies, and local administrative board members. The results will be known shortly after the polling stations close at 4:00 PM local time.


Gustavo Petro
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