President Juan Manuel Santos‘ U Party has rigged Sunday’s congressional elections to disadvantage former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe‘s successful senate bid, says a former justice minister investigated for bribing congressmen.
Former Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia, a steadfast former president Uribe ally, claimed on Monday that the voting trend in the Senate’s 2014 elections switched all too suspiciously in favor of President Juan Manuel Santos’ Party of the U in the northern coastal region where corruption is commonly known to be rampant.
The accusations were made while Congress is investigating the former minister for his alleged role in the 2004 bribery of congressmen to vote in favor of a constitutional change necessary to allow Uribe’s 2006 re-election bid.
|The Valencia family is a powerful and controversial political clan from Medellin with strong ties to the Uribe family. Fabio Valencia got under fire while serving under Uribe because his brother Guillermo, then the director of Medellin’s prosecution office, was sentenced for his links to now-jailed drug lord “Don Mario.” The then-minister did not resign claiming he never knew of his brother’s criminal activity.|
Valencia, who is a political strategist for former president Alvaro Uribe’s recently formed Democratic Center (Centro Democratico) party, decried the supposed “chocorazo” – which signifies to “bring down someone who is winning an election by giving votes to other candidates during the ballot count,” reported El Espectador newspaper.
“There was a ‘chocorazo’ in the coast, as the trend in favor of the Democratic Center changed in favor of the U [party] in a grotesque manner,” Valencia said.
“They didn’t let us check the poll recount software and no-one can explain how the trend of votes changed from favoring the Democratic Center to favor the U [party].”
During Sunday’s election, Uribe’s newly-formed party had in fact swept into the lead and looked like it could have potentially maintained its top spot in Senate until the end of the day. Uribe became the first candidate to gain a seat in Senate for the 2014 to 2018 term.
However, the pro-Santos coalition parties — who in the 2006 to 2010 term enjoyed a huge majority in both the House of Representatives and Senate — did not take long to make a comeback.
“We reported it and the National Civil Registry denied a pre-audit,” said the steadfast Uribe supporter and chairman of his party’s Central Political Committee.
Colombian Registrar Carlos Ariel Sanchez retaliated by stating that no votes are lost in the National Civil Registry, and that only after the recount will the relevant parties be officially given their seats in Congress.
Valencia Cossio’s announcement comes on the same day that the Democratic Center published a press release condemning the alleged “cheating” of the incumbent U Party.
In the statement, Santos’ government is accused of tricking the electorate into voting for the U Party by using publicity that made it seem that his and Uribe’s were the same party, as well as by buying voters all over the country and through electoral fraud.
At the final count on Sunday, the incumbent U Party led the Senate election by 184,644 ballots, or 1.29% more votes than the Democratic Center.
In House, the Democratic Center took fifth place behind the four parties of the pro-Santos coalition.
The National Electoral Council began their recount on Monday.
- Official 2014 Congressional Elections Results (National Civil Registry)
- COMUNICADO Bogotá, 10 de marzo 2014 (Centro Democrático Official Website)
- Fabio Valencia Cossio denunció fraude en elecciones al Senado (El Espectador)