NGO slams corruption and vote-buying in Congress elections

Alejandra Barrios, director of the Bogota-based Electoral Observation Mission, said on Wednesday that Colombia’s March 14th legislative elections suffered from “severe irregularities.”

Barrios said that the delays in announcing results, as well as problems with vote buying, “cast doubt on the legitimacy of the process.”

The NGO head says that says there have been reports of vote buying and campaign financing irregularities across the whole country, “from the Amazon to Guajira.”

In an interview with La Republica, Barrios claimed that there was a suspicious rise of 350,000 more voters in this election compared with 2006, and that some candidates were funded by corruption and drug trafficking.

In a separate interview with W Radio, Barrios said that the elections in the Valle de Cauca department should be declared illegitimate because there is widespread evidence of corruption, and said that if authorities did not act, it would be a “serious blow to democracy.”

Barrios said she hoped at the very least that the National Elections Council would review the results from the region, and ask for the votes to be transferred to Bogota for a recount.

Barrios did however praise the relative lack of violence over the election period.

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