Colombian voters pressured, threatened to support certain candidates, parties, watchdog reveals
That Colombian voters were pressured and threatened into supporting certain candidates or parties, or not to vote at all can now be added to the increasing claims of fraud and corruption in Colombia´s congressional elections last week.
Voters were pressured and threatened in at least 28 different Colombian cities, independent election watchdog Misión de Observación Electoral-MOE reported this afternoon.
The report does not mention which candidates nor which parties were to benefit through the threats and pressure. Nor does the report inform whether the pressure and threats against voters were single or multiple incidents in each location.
An obvious fact about coercing voters is that it is likely of little benefit unless a large number of votes are obtained.
The votes were cast four days ago and almost completely counted, but accusations of fraud, vote-buying and voting booth chicanery have kept the campaign intense and alive.
Former president Álvaro Uribe, and his personal creation the Centro Democrático Party, have made the loudest complaints. Uribe claims some 250,000 votes of his right-wing party – that stands firmly against negotiating peace with FARC rebels – were not counted.
Many of the complaints focus on Colombia´s north coast, where the election ran strongly in favour the parties supporting the President Juan Manuel Santos, who is running for re-election on May 25.
Suspicions increased when votes from rural areas, which were received after the vote count in urban areas, turned the tide in favour of the incumbent president, who finished slightly ahead of Uribe´s second-place party.
The north coast carries a lot of weight in the Colombian senate where it has 30 of 102 senators. Senators are chosen in a national not a regional vote in Colombia, so one region can end up dominating others if its candidates attract more votes, legal or illegal.
MOE said it received more than 1,000 complaints, the majority dealing with vote-buying and prohibited campaigning on election day.
While the complaints have not diminished in the days since the election, the Colombian institution responsible for elections is downplaying the calls of corruption and fraud.
“The problem is in Colombia there are two kinds of candidates, those who win and those who say that the registry stole the elections,” said Carlos Ariel Sánchez, of the Registraduría.
For more information please read:
And in English: http://colombiareports.co/colombia-2014-congress-election-fraud/