Colombia’s electoral regulating body on Tuesday announced that 974 candidates are ineligible to participate in October 25 local elections due to ongoing judicial proceedings or disciplinary sanctions.
The announcement made by the National Electoral Council (CNE), which is responsible for overseeing the upcoming elections, shows the most recent attempts by authorities to combat electoral fraud and corruption.
CNE President Magistrate Emiliano Rivera announced that the decision was a move to intensify efforts to clean up the election process according to El Espectador.
“We received almost 1,800 [candidates to be reviewed] of which 974 would-be candidates were revoked by the Electoral Counsel,” Rivera stated to Caracol Radio.
“These candidates were found to be in [active processes] of judicial sentencing or disciplinary sanctions levied by the Prosecutor [General’s Office],” continued Rivera.
CNE’s decision to revoke nearly 1,000 candidates eligibility to run for local offices around the country comes as authorities struggle keep up with the ballooning cases of voter registration fraud, violence against voters and the assassinations of two mayoral candidates.
At least 20,000 candidates in the Colombia’s October 25 local elections have pending criminal investigations according to the Prosecutor General’s Office as reported by Caracol Radio. Tuesday’s announcement is the most recent in a series of actions taken by the CNE to combat corruption.
On Monday the CNE annulled 398,675 voter registrations after analyzing data from the country’s 1101 municipalities to find abnormalities consistent with voter registration fraud.
The CNE president noted that a relationship exists between places that already have issues with crime and cases of fraud.
“Where there are problems is often in places where there is illegal mining and other illegal activities by groups operating outside the law,” Rivera stated.
According to the National Registry nearly 6,550 deceased citizens are registered to vote in the October election. After the abnormality was acknowledged the National Registry pledged to revise the database.
In 2011 the country’s registry underwent a complete overhaul after similar disparities were found. Four million deceased citizens were removed from the registry in 2011 and an additional 6 million in 2013.
According to the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) almost 20% of Colombia’s municipalities are currently at risk of violence and electoral fraud. The rights observatory group investigation shows that 204 municipalities across the country are at high risk of electoral fraud and violence.
In a conversation between Colombia Reports, MOE’s international coordinator, Andres Ceballos, explained the extent of violence threatening upcoming elections was discussed.
“This year we found a total of 83 acts of electoral violence directed at political candidates or elected officials, including assassinations, kidnappings, verbal and/or physical attacks,” Ceballos told Colombia Reports.
In addition to the 974 candidates rejected from the elections, the CNE found 1,182,196 registrations tied to fraud, according to El Espectador. The registrations have also been thrown out in the run up to the October 25 elections.