The Electoral Observation Mission’s (MOE) Claudia Lopez has blamed a large part of the electoral violence recorded by the organization on politicians and candidates.
“The candidates themselves are going to groups of common criminals or illegal armed groups to intimidate their opponents,” Lopez said in an interview with Caracol Radio.
According to Lopez, the MOE came to this conclusion after noting about half the incidences of violence came in areas where no illegal armed groups, such as the FARC, the ELN or neo-paramilitary groups, were present.
The MOE reported a 68% rise in election violence, with 109 attacks on candidates, including 28 murders.
The MOE report also suggested the 67% rise in electoral fraud was not necessarily related to the presence of armed groups. In the report’s conclusion, Lopez writes, “the principal agents of electoral fraud are not now the illegal armed groups. Electoral fraud can happen with or without drug traffickers, paramilitaries or guerrillas, but it can’t happen without the participation of certain candidates and political officials.”