A conservative candidate has been elected mayor in re-elections in the northwestern Colombian town of Bello, after the first election fell apart in October, according to Spanish news source EFE.
Conservative Party member Carlos Muñoz was elected mayor on Saturday, after winning 49% of votes. He was followed by Liberal Party candidate Luz Imelda Ochoa, who received 29% of votes.
It marked the first time in Colombia’s history that a municipality had to hold re-elections, after a 57.6% majority of voters in October’s election cast a “none of the above” vote, beating sole conservative candidate German Londoño.
While the blank vote was chosen by only 5% of the electorate this time round, the re-elections were noted for their very low turnout. According to Alexandra Barrias, director of Electoral Observation Mission, an NGO that monitors election processes in Colombia, only 26% of those registered to vote in Bello turned up on the day.
According to Barrias, the 6-week campaign, along with the election day itself, was marked by the “dirty war” between candidates, particularly between the newly elected conservative mayor and his liberal rival. This included both sides circulating pamphlets discrediting the opposition.
Barrias described the elections in the town of Bello, which borders Medellin in the department of Antioquia, as “a competition for a municipality that does not have an easy context”, owing to the instability caused by drug trafficking in the region.