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  • "In Colombia nobody knows how much an electoral campaign costs," Director of the Electoral Observation Mission (OEM) of Colombia Alejandra Barrios said. | Photo: teleSUR

Published 20 October 2019

A week before the regional elections, fewer than 10 thousand candidates, out of the 117 thousand registered, have declared the income from their electoral campaigns.

Only eight percent of the 117,000 candidates registered in Colombia have reported some type of income or expense of their political campaign, Director of the Electoral Observation Mission (OEM) of Colombia Alejandra Barrios told teleSUR Sunday.

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Colombia: Mayoral Candidate Denounces Death Threat Prior to Oct. 27 Elections

During an interview with teleSUR, she explained that less than 10,000 postulants have declared some campaign expenses.

"In Colombia, we have a black box, here nobody knows how much an electoral campaign costs, who makes donations, how much money comes in, how those resources are used," she said.

In this sense, Barrios pointed out that the weaknesses of the electoral systems in Colombia have been particularly evident in this process.

"The electoral process is vulnerable because we have rules for everything, even contradictory in itself, we generate a mechanism that is not strong enough to demand what is already in the legislation," the official added said.

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The representative of the Colombian EOM explained that for these regional and local elections there are 117,000 candidates, who will choose to be representatives of more than one thousand municipalities, also in 32 departments, so a stronger electoral system and a centralized authority is needed.

When asked if the peace agreements were fulfilled in this electoral process, Barrios stressed that political participation in the electoral competition was achieved, but local laws need to be reformed to further expand democracy.

"You have to go deeper into the local, expanding democracy is only possible when the political parties reflect the needs of the citizens," she said.

In addition, she added that "we must seek reform of parties, electoral system and a mechanism that allows opposition parties a status of balance and special protection for those who declare themselves in an adverse position."

She also stressed that they have to start looking at issues and identify problems and concrete projects for very short reforms.

"For example, the inclusion of women in politics, control of the financing of electoral campaigns, electoral authority," among other central points are the edges that must be strengthened in the country's electoral processes.

Next Sunday, Oct. 27, Colombia will hold regional and local elections to elect governors, as well as deputies of the Departmental Assemblies, mayors of more than one thousand municipalities, municipal councilmen and councilors of the Local Administrative Boards.

Since the beginning of the electoral campaign on July 27 up until Sep. 16, political violence in Colombia has left 40 candidates threatened with death, two kidnapped candidates, five victims of attacks and seven candidates killed, according to the EOM, an independent platform of social organizations that promotes the exercise of civil and political rights.

The Ombudsman's Office warned that 36 percent of Colombian municipalities are at electoral risk because of the presence of illegal armed groups, which is why the country has decreed an early warning of ‘Electoral Risk’.

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