The demobilization of Colombia’s largest guerrilla group has reduced electoral risk in the country, according to independent electoral observers. Fraud risk remains an issue.
According to the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), which has assessed electoral risk since 2007, there is a risk of violent intervention in this year’s elections in 310 municipalities. In 2014, this risk was present in 389 municipalities.
Fraud risk diminished too, but considerably less, the MOE said. In 2014, 410 municipalities were at risk of fraud in the senate elections and another 386 were at risk in the elections for the House of Representatives.
This year, the number of municipalities at risk dropped to 379 for the Senate and 355 for the House.
Colombia has 1,122 municipalities.
While the general risks of fraud and violence have diminished, the number of municipalities that face extreme risk because of a combination of factors increased from 50 to 64.
The electoral observers also considered the presence of illegal economies like coca cultivation and illegal mining.
The electoral risks went from being corridors that crossed important areas of the country to being specific regions in which illegal economies and different armed actors are concentrated.
MOE director Alejandra Barrios
Extreme fraud risk levels remained in 45 municipalities throughout Colombia for the House elections and 34, including the capital Bogota, for Senate elections.
“We are seeing a slight drop of risk associated with local political practices. Nevertheless, the number of municipalities with extreme risk increased,” Barrios said.
The electoral observation chief urged authorities to “maintain preventive actions for possible electoral crimes and irregularities.”
The MOE was founded after the infamous 2006 elections that were among the most fraudulent ever. The reelection of former President Alvaro Uribe that year had been made possible by the bribery of members of congress. Dozens of lawmakers elected that year ended up in prison for their ties to paramilitary groups.