Colombia’s voters elect a new president on Sunday amid extraordinary tensions.
The tensions are partly due to the possible victory of progressive Senator Gustavo Petro, one of the biggest critics of the increasingly authoritarian President Ivan Duque.
The government has additionally failed to guarantee free and fair elections, which has plummeted public confidence in electoral authorities.
Petro and his rival, the allegedly corrupt demagogue Rodolfo Hernandez, have both claimed that opponents wanted to assassinate them during the campaign.
The opposition campaign additionally claimed that they were the victim of spying after the release of edited videos of private strategy meetings.
Defeated car-right candidate Federico Gutierrez used these videos to press criminal charges against Petro’s “criminal gang.”
The campaigns of both candidates have claimed that the elections would be rigged to benefit their opponent.
The software lost credibility after the organizer of the elections, Alexander Vega, left out almost 1.5 million votes in the preliminary results of the congressional elections in March.
Vega subsequently failed to comply with a court order to audit the vote-counting software.
This is delicate, because Petro and Hernandez could end up in a virtual tie on Sunday, according to recent opinion polls.
The Independent Electoral Organization Mission (MOE) urged for a recount if the margin between the two candidates is less than two percent “in order to generate greater peace of mind and reliability of the results.”
Illegal government interference
The MOE and European observers have questioned Inspector General Margarita Cabello for her failure to sanction state officials’ blatant opposition to Petro.
The Constitutional Court additionally reprimanded Duque and his congressional coalition for their illegal suspension of anti-election fraud legislation in November.
Former candidate Sergio Fajardo additionally blasted an apparently arbitrary criminal investigation into the moderate politician.
Collapse of public confidence
The accumulation of events has tanked the credibility of the election authorities, according to the MOE, which has been monitoring elections since 2007.
Another independent monitor, Fundación Karisma, said that the trust in electoral authorities “broke.”
Fear of violence
Authorities and independent observers fear that the government’s bungling of the elections could lead to protests and violence after the results are announced.
Vega responded that he would not accept anyone questioning the election results and Duque said that he would make sure that the security force would “make the verdict of the Colombian people respected.
Both officials are being investigated for their alleged involvement in the corruption of Colombo’s electoral process.