Colombia’s coalition parties have refused some 500 allegedly criminal candidates for October’s local elections, reported newspaper El Tiempo Wednesday.
The move followed a report by intelligence agency DAS indicating that hundreds of electoral candidates had criminal records.
The background checks, which were spearheaded by Minister of Interior German Vargas Lleras, are a part of an initiative to prevent corrupt or criminal candidates from participating in the October elections.
According to the report, nearly 200 of the 19,000 candidates who applied to the Partido de la U were denied candidacy due to previous criminal records. The party’s chairman, Juan Lozano, also presented a list with names of candidates who will not receive support from Partido de la U.
The Conservative Party similarly denied eligibility to some 500 candidates. Colombia’s intelligence agency, DAS, also reported that six of these applicants had some kind of criminal background. According to Jose Dario Salazar, the party’s chairman, a total of 74 people have been denied support from the Conservative party.
Another 13,000 names of candidates for the Conservative Party were submitted Tuesday to DAS for review.
Rafael Pardo, the chairman of the Liberal Party, said that 174 applications for candidacy have been denied.
German Varon Cotrino, co-director of Cambio Radical, said that on Tuesday the party had denied 42 candidates eligibility for the elections.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos‘ governing coalition agreed that information will be channeled through the Ministry of Interior so that the state will have information regarding members of political parties and their candidates’ backgrounds.
NGO Nuevo Arco Iris was recently awarded a government contract to perform background checks on party candidates for the upcoming elections. According to El Tiempo, the preliminary results of these investigations will not be released to parties or media.