The Conservative Party primary, held alongside Colombia’s congressional elections, is heading for a photo finish as candidate Andres Felipe Arias has virtually the same amount of votes as his competitor Noemi Sanin.
After the counting of 46.32% of the polling stations, Arias had 517,568 votes and Sanin had 514,590, leaving a difference of less than 3,000 votes between the two main contestants.
Sanin, Colombia’s former ambassador to the UK, had complained that the counting is taking twice as long as that of the congressional election votes, and that affected the transparency of the primary.
Sanin, who had been leading in polls, also claimed that in some cases ballots were moved to other places for counting, while in other polling stations the counting took place in the spot.
“We do not agree with the proceedings. To us it is unacceptable that there are two ways of counting the results: in one polling station the votes are counted on the spot, while in other places the boxes are taken elsewhere,” the pre-candidate said.
According to Sanin’s campaign manager, the delay in counting “allows doors to be opened to delegitimize the results.”
The leadership of the Conservative Party is expected to have great influence on the presidential elections and the forming of a coalition after a president has been elected. Throughout the years, Arias has spoken out in favour of a re-election of President Alvaro Uribe, while Sanin explicitly rejected that possibility.