Early voting in Colombia’s presidential elections begins this Monday for Colombian citizens living abroad, the country’s National Civil Registrar (NCR) announced.
“The voting period for Colombian citizens living abroad should be open for one week, with the understanding that the first day should be the Monday before the official election date,” said a statement released by the NCR. “This is meant to provide enough travel time for Colombian citizens who live far from their respective consulates.”
According to the statement, approximately 546,000 Colombians living across the world are eligible to vote in the country’s May 25 presidential elections, with nearly 2,000 polling stations spread out across 64 countries.
The largest number of prospective voters is located in Caracas, Venezuela, followed by Miami and New York in the United States, whose consulates have registered 27,929 and 22,623 eligible voters, respectively.
Polling places are located in consulates and embassies and will be open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The voting period will last from Monday until Sunday, May 25, the date of first round elections in Colombia.
The state of the race
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
The latest statistics indicate that no candidate will reach an absolute majority in next Sunday’s contest, and that the country will therefore see to a second round runoff between the two leading candidates.
The most recent poll, released by Datexco just before the cut off — according to law, no polls can be released a week leading up to the elections — showed a narrowing gap between incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos and his main rival throughout the campaign cycle, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.
The poll, however, was conducted before Zuluaga became embroiled in the worst of a deepening wiretapping scandal, presenting an opportunity for third-place candidate Enrique Peñalosa to gain ground in the week that still remains before Sunday’s elections.
A video leaked from the Zuluaga campaign and released by Semana magazine Saturday depicts Zuluaga discussing what appears to be illegally obtained intelligence with the suspect apprehended in an ongoing investigation into the illegal access of privileged military intelligence.
Andres Sepulveda, the former Zuluaga campaign worker arrested on charges of working with intelligence insiders to hack military data, is seen discussing illicitly obtained information with Zuluaga and former campaign manager Luis Alfonso Hoyos, who has already resigned in the wake of the scandal. In the video, Zuluaga does not express surprise at the information or Sepulveda’s claims that it had been accessed clandestinely.
When Sepulveda was first implicated in the illegal activity, Zuluaga claimed he had never dealt directly with the campaign worker and had no knowledge of any intellgience gathering activities. Since the video’s release, Zuluaga has claimed that the discussion with Sepulveda was “staged,” accusing the Santos campaign of infiltrating his organization and running a dirty campaign.
Zuluaga has made specific mention of JJ Rendon, Santos’ former campaign manager, who also resigned recently amid charges that he accepted $12 million from drug traffickers to negotiate the terms of a surrender with the Colombian government that never came to fruition.
Rendon, the controversial spin doctor behind Santos’ first campaign, worked closely with both Zuluaga and Santos on the successful 2006 reelection run of former President Alvaro Uribe Velez, a senator-elect and the leader of Zuluaga’s Democratic Center (Centro Democratico) party.
- Este lunes 19 de mayo inician las votaciones para los colombianos residentes en el exterior para la elección presidencial (Registraduria Nacional del Estado Civil)