Colombian former Senator Rodrigo Lara Restrepo on Monday claimed there were “irregularities” in the poll that left him thirteen votes short of re-election, with 41,935 votes to winner Carlos Fernando Motoa’s 41,948.
Lara set out his the details of a “fraud” in an interview with the daily El Diario de la Hulia. According to the senator, 600 votes in his favour were not counted. When this failed to deny Lara the lead, the fraudsters allegedly cancelled a further 180 of his votes. But his rivals were still two votes short, he claims, so they falsified ballots in Carmen de Bolivar, to give Motoa an extra fifteen votes. This left Lara, who had been sure of his victory, thirteen votes behind his rival.
“I have proof of the fraud,” the Cambio Radical politician stressed in the interview. He added that he would seek redress from the Supreme Court of Justice.
Although the poll took place on March 14, the results were only definitively announced by the National Electoral Council on July 18 – two days before the Senate’s first session on July 20. The delay was due to recounts being held, in the wake of allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
Unlike the congressional elections, no significant irregularities have been alleged in the case of the presidential elections held in May and June.
Lara is the son of Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonito, who was assassinated on the order of drug lord Pablo Escobar in 1984.