Colombia’s government on Wednesday unveiled a plan to invest $2.6 million in order to provide security for political candidates in congressional and presidential elections held in March and May respectively.
The budget, provided by the National Protection Unit (UNP) and the National Police, will secure the escorting of candidates by the National Protection Unit, bodyguards of the National Police and a larger number of police patrols.
UNP director Andres Villamizar told national radio that “we’re talking ab0ut an additional expense than the norm of the Unit, of about 5 billion pesos, partly supported by the National Protection Unit, but also by the National Police which is providing a large number of men.”
The additional security measures will be active until March 9 for the candidates for congress, and continue for presidential candidates until after a possible second round in June.
“In total we are talking about very important figures of more than 200 men of the National Protection Unit, and about 500 men of the National Police , which potentially will be involved when it comes to the full implementation of the schemes, we are talking about 100 armored vehicles will be deployed in all schemes,” Villamizar said.
Colombia’s March congressional elections and May presidential elections are being prepared as the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos — himself seeking reelection in May — are holding peace talks with the largest rebel group, the FARC.