A 36-hour alcohol ban took force in Colombia on Saturday 6PM, one day before the polls open for the second round of Colombia’s presidential elections.
According to a decree released by the Ministry of Interior prior to the first round of the presidential election, the temporary “Dry Law” prohibits sale and consumption of alcohol from 6PM Saturday to 6AM Monday.
Alcohol prohibition dries out Colombia in crucial second round election
Article 15 in Decree 891 states that no alcohol can be consumed or sold during the weekend of the second and crucial round of the presidential election. Local authorities — state governors and mayors — can alter the timespan within their respective jurisdictions to prevent possible disturbances of the public order.
On Thursday Colombia’s Ministry of Defense called for state governors and mayors to use this opportunity and on their Twitter account the ministry suggested that local authorities pushed the alcohol prohibition 6 hours forward to begin at 12PM Saturday.
None of Colombia’s large cities have announced they will push forward the Ley Seca. The Mayor’s office in Bogota said they will not change the start time, pointing to the fact that Colombia is playing their first World Cup match on Saturday until the early afternoon.
“We have established the dry law from 6 PM Saturday so that, when the match between Colombia and Greece ends, the citizens can celebrate and then go back to their residences and continue the celebration without affecting the normal conducting of the election,” a statement from the Mayor’s office read.
The official decree regarding the dry law from the Ministry of Interior does not say anything about the reason or background of the “Ley Seca”, but security and public order are main reasons for the alcohol prohibition.
Similar laws, though only applied on the election day, are enforced during elections in a number of Latin American countries including Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Countries all over the world have a history of dry laws though not applied anymore.
Within the same decree, the Ministry has also set a number of rules and guidelines to be adhered to on election day for public transport services and firearms as well as media outlets, political gatherings and campaign rallies,
Public transport to act as normal
From Friday and until Wednesday June 18 a nation-wide restriction on permits allowing firearms to be carried has been applied.
On the day when Colombia’s next president is to be found, mass transport systems and public transport companies in both urban and regional areas are required to provide services to the public at at least 80% of their capacity. They may only charge the standard fees set by local authorities.
According to Medellin Mayor’s Office, the city’s “Metro” mass transport system including rail, buses, and cable cars will provide free transport in the metropolitan area from 6 AM to 6 PM on election day.
All of Colombia’s land and river crossings with Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Panama, were ordered closed by The Interior Ministry from 4 AM on Saturday June 14 to 4 PM Sunday June 15, when the election polls close.
Propaganda and media restrictions
During a whole week from Monday the 9th and until Monday after the election political meetings and rallies may take place indoors and not in public spaces. No new political propaganda — such as posters and billboards — may be erected during election day, the decree from the interior ministry reads.
The decree also outlines guidelines for the media including rules for broadcasting, interviews with candidates and party members, and restriction on the broadcast of electoral projections based on data received from survey results, or based on statements taken from voters regarding their vote.
- Listo Decreto De Orden Público Para Elecciones Presidenciales 2014 (Ministry of Interior)
- Todo dispuesto para la jornada electoral del domingo (Mayor’s office in Bogota)