Colombia’s interior minister on Tuesday met with the election monitoring task force to tackle vote tampering and illegal financing in the upcoming 2014 elections.
The minister of the interior, Fernando Carrillo, who presided over the preparatory meeting for the National Commission for Coordination and Election Monitoring, warned that there are “criminal organizations willing to undermine the transparency and integrity of the electoral system.”
“The main threats are related to voter fraud, vote buying and illegal financing of campaigns. And increasingly this has to do with money laundering,” he said.
To combat these perennial problems in Colombia’s elections, Carrillo will strengthen the Immediate Reaction Unit for Transparent Elections (URIEL). “The main purpose of this meeting, one year before the elections in 2014, is the implementation of strategies to shield the electoral system. We seek to strengthen the URIEL,” Carrillo Florez said.
In the 2011 elections, in the period between June 2011 and January 2012, the URIEL received a total of 5141 complaints, grievances and requests. The three most reported crimes were: “electoral transhumance” or the transportation of voters to a new district (616), voter corruption (542) and voter constraint (432), according to the ministry of the interior.
Illegal campaign financing in Colombia caused 120 National Council of Election (CNE) investigations into mayoral and gubernatorial elections in 2011.
Fernando Carrillo is one of Colombia’s most prominent politicians, after studying at Harvard law school he advised the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign, became the youngest minister of justice appointed in Colombian history, and worked in the upper eschalons of Inter-American Development Bank, before becoming minister of the interior in September 2012.