Colombia’s presidential candidates held their last campaign rallies ahead of Sunday’s first round of elections.
With the exception of leftist candidate Gustavo Petro, all campaigns flocked to the capital Bogota for their last public show of force.
Electoral law bans public events and the publication of election polls in the week leading up to election rounds.
Most candidates sought to show off their ability to mobilize voters after Petro gathered tens of thousands of people in Bogota on Thursday.
Front-runner Ivan Duque’s closing event in Bogota’s El Tunel park failed to impress. The conservative failed to fill the space he had reserved despite free transport and a concert by Pipe Bueno, the son of drug trafficker Dagoberto Giraldo.
The main attraction of the event was not Duque, but former President Alvaro Uribe, who is under investigation by the Supreme Court over his alleged ties to death squads.
The beginning of Duque’s speech was reportedly inaudible because the crowd was still applauding the candidate’s political patron.
Gustavo Petro, who has been second in the polls, did not repeat his stunt gathering tens of thousands of followers like he did in Bogota on Thursday, but his event was undoubtedly the busiest of the day.
Petro urged the thousands of supporters in Barranquilla, where opponent German Vargas is allegedly planning massive fraud, to mobilize on election day.
Like Petro, Fajardo has refused to resort to support-buying to inflate his apparent support. His moderate message, however, has also failed to attract convincing support. Only a few hundred people showed up at the Esmeraldas avenue in Bogota.
The centrist candidate has received the endorsement of Colombia’s most renowned politicians, but this has been ignored by the electorate. which has been consumed by polarization.
Residents of Bogota’s city center were annoyed at best about the dozens of buses that were parked nearby Bolivar Square to transport Vargas supporters from outside of the capital.
The former VP has been under fire over his alleged election fraud practices, but tried to deflect the criticism by telling election observers and anti-corruption advocates to “respect the institutions. If you have a complaint about the national registry’s software, ask Maduro’s.”
Humberto de la Calle
Liberal Party candidate Humberto de la Calle is the least popular of the anti-corruption candidates, according to the polls.
This was confirmed by his closing event on Sunday where no more than a few hundred people came to express their support.