A group of European politicians who were invited to be election observers praised Colombia’s May 30 presidential elections as “transparent and clean,” the European Pressphoto Agency reported Monday.
“We have come to support Colombian democracy in these very clean and transparent elections,” said Santiago Fisas from the European People’s Party (EPP).
Fisas congratulated Colombia for its very high level of voter turnout, which was reported to be as much as 50%, and for the “patience” and “civility” of voters who waited in line at the polling stations.
Fisas, who was accompanied in Bogota by two other EPP politicians, said “We were surprised by the civility and speed of how fast the election results were counted. Congratulations to the National Electoral Council and the National Registry.”
The outcome of the country’s national elections was published in record time on Sunday, with 95% of results released just an hour and a half after polling stations closed.
National Registrar Carlos Ariel Sanchez claimed that Sunday’s election represented a success for the Registry Office, attributing the speed of the results to forward planning by the office and cooperation between voting officials and the armed forces.
Fisas also praised current President Alvaro Uribe for “allowing the development of these elections with peace, tranquility and civility.”
Another politician from the EPP, Laima Liucija Andrikiene, disagreed, arguing that Uribe’s support for one particular candidate in the election was not “normal,” as Fisas insisted, but was “extremely dangerous.”
Under Colombian law, it is illegal for the president to endorse a candidate in any public election.
While not explicitly endorsing Santos, who many consider to be his heir, Uribe made several veiled jabs at Mockus in the weeks leading up to the election, and warned Colombians against change, calling on them to “not change the hen that cares for the three eggs of security, confidence in investment, and social policy, because the change might damage them.”
The three politicians from the EPP, which is the largest political party in the European Parliament, were part of a large contingent of international observers sent to monitor the May 30 elections.
In addition to the three observers from the EPP, the Organization of American States had 85 observers from 26 countries monitoring the election.