Colombian authorities reported a 90% drop in illegal interference from armed groups during Sunday’s congressional elections, when compared to 2010.
“Today the big winner is democracy, the protagonist the Colombian people, and a message to the country that they can hold united and peaceful elections,” said Minister of the Interior Aurelio Iragorri, in a statement released late Sunday.
Iragorri added that 83% of the country’s territory did not experience any acts of election-related crime and 99% were not subject to violence during the voting period.
Ministry figures indicate that electoral crimes fell in 16 categories — six related to voter corruption, another six categories related to the illegal retention or possession of voter IDs, two for voter fraud, one each for disturbing the democratic process and voter constraint.
Iragorri said the relative peace during elections was attributed to “not only the peace being negotiated in Cuba but also was supported in the regions thanks to the great efforts made by security forces.”
Prior to elections, Colombia’s Ministry of Defense deployed over 260,000 troops and police officers, dispersed over an estimated 99% of polling locations throughout the country. The security forces were joined by thousands of party-affiliated election witnesses and independent observers.
One such oversight group, the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), reported having received 858 complaints of irregularities on Sunday. At least 140 of these related to the buying or selling of votes. The Inspector General’s Office reported that it received 189 additional complaints of voter irregularities. Many of these were said to relate to illegal political advertising by electoral officials or the distribution of propaganda in polling area.
Caracol Radio, meanwhile, reported that 31 people were arrested on Sunday for election-related crime. The report did not specify how many of the crimes were violent in nature. An additional 42 people were reportedly arrested during the course of the voting period, many for outstanding arrest warrants that were exposed in the process of voter identification.
- “Disminuyen 90% acciones de grupos armados al margen de la ley durante la jornada electoral”: Ministro Aurelio Iragorri Valencia (Minister of the Interior Press Release)
- Fuerza Pública capturó 31 personas por delitos electorales (Caracol Radio)