Colombians living abroad will be able to vote in a referendum on peace with the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, on October 2 and not during several days as is usual in normal elections.
The country’s Foreign Ministry and the registrar general on Tuesday revealed the details of how Colombia’s diaspora can vote in the referendum that could bring an end to more than half a century of violence between the rebels and state.
According to Registrar General Juan Carlos Lalinde, voting will be possible at embassies and consulates in 138 cities in 64 countries.
Usually, Colombians abroad can also vote in the days ahead of an election, but not this time.
“In this occasion voting can only be done on Sunday October 2,” the day Colombians in their home country also vote.
In order to vote, Colombians abroad will need a valid Colombian “cedula” or identity certificate.
To prevent chaos ahead of the provisional vote, no new cedulas will be issued before the vote.
Independent electoral observers will be present at some of the polling stations to prevent possible fraud.
With the plebiscite, Colombians will be able to either ratify or reject a recently closed peace deal with the FARC that will be formally signed on September 26, six days before the vote.
The Santos administration and the leftist opposition, together with victim organizations and minority groups are currently campaigning for a “Yes” vote.
Colombia’s conservative opposition, however, is campaigning for a “No” vote with the intention of renegotiating elements of the 297-page deal that took more than five years to come together.
The peace deal with the FARC has been praised for ending an armed conflict in which more than 265,000 Colombians died, 45,000 “disappeared” and approximately 7 million were displaced.
However, the deal has also been criticized for allowing war criminals who fully collaborate with justice to remain out of prison, disregarding the gravity of their crimes.
According to several pollsters, the “Yes” vote is most likely to win, but polls in Colombia are often unreliable.