Colombian congressional candidates are buying votes in the cities of Barranquilla and Soacha, using cash and scholarship placements to secure their election, local media say.
Barranquilla police commissioner Jorge Gutierrez told local newspaper El Heraldo that there is some COP20 billion ($10.5 million) “on the street” to buy votes. Some fourteen suspects already have been arrested in the city for allegedly seeking to buy votes. The newspaper’s website did not say on whose behalf the suspects were buying votes.
According to newscast Noticias Uno, Soacha’s education secretary was fired after she was found to be involved in the granting of scholarship placements to students in exchange for votes for local Cambio Radical candidate Fernando Ramirez.
Promising money or favors in exchange for votes is common in Colombia. A recent survey by Transparancy International showed that one in every five Colombians has been offered a bribe in exchange for their vote.