The results of the Conservative Party’s internal election to select a presidential candidate may not be known until Saturday, the national electoral commission said Monday. In light of the delay, pre-candidate Andres Felipe Arias expressed doubts about the vote’s legitimacy.
At the latest count, former defense minister and Conservative presidential pre-candidate Noemi Sanin has 577,305 votes, while her rival, former agriculture minister Andres Felipe Arias, has 576,901, with an estimated 52% of the total votes counted.
Arias said that between 4 AM and 6 AM on Monday, 14 votes were cast in the party’s internal election. He called this event “strange,” as earlier that night only one ballot was cast on average every 30 minutes.
“We feel our good faith has been taken advantage of,” said Arias, adding that his campaign felt “cheated” by the electoral commission.
According to Carlos Arial Sanchez, head of the national electoral commission, canvassers managed to count votes for the Senate and for the House of Representatives on Sunday night, but ran out of time before they could count the results for the Conservative Party’s internal election. Votes were supposed to be tallied by 11 PM.
As it is unclear how many votes were not counted before the 11 PM deadline, the electoral commission has called for a total recount, which may take four days to complete. The recount will be done in public and take place between 9 AM and 9 PM.
Representatives from the Organization of American States (OEA) will also be present to observe the recount.
In a statement, the managers of Sanin’s campaign called the delays “difficult and inexplicable” and asked for the recount to be conducted as quickly and transparently as possible.
Sanin’s campaign also said in another statement that the eight hour delay in counting votes was “shameful.”
The winner of the Conservative Party’s internal election may choose to face Juan Manuel Santos, a strong Uribe ally from the Partido de la U, in May’s presidential elections. The Partido de la U emerged as Sunday’s biggest winner in Colombia’s congressional elections.
However, the Conservative Party’s presidential candidate may choose not to face Santos, resulting in an alliance between the two Uribista parties.