Colombian expat citizens living in the United Arab Emirates will be able to vote in the Colombian congressional and presidential elections for the first time this year.
The two available polling stations will be situated in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), within the Colombian Consulate and Embassy which have only themselves been in existence for two years.
The newly opened ballot boxes allows thousands of Colombian mercenaries working for the UAE military to cast their vote.
The new law which permitted Colombian citizens living outside of the country to vote was introduced in February 2014 and the UAE is expecting up to 600 voters, according to those who registered in January. The congressional elections will be a test ahead of the presidential election in May which could see up to 2000 expatriate votes from the UAE.
The polling stations in Abu Dhabi are open to those living in countries within the UAE, namely Qatar, Oman and Kuwait as long they have conformed with electoral registration processes.
By law, voting by citizens living outside of Colombia must take place in the week before the official in-country voting, so from March 3 to 9, in order to ensure ample time to collect and collate votes.
One of the questions with regard to expat voting is a lack of in depth knowledge as to who they want to vote for. One Colombian citizen living in the UAE told Time magazine “I want to vote , but I have no idea who the candidates are,” as he leafed through the pamphlet of candidates supplied by the registrar.
The Colombian Consulate in Abu Dhabi will be limited to the organization of elections and shall not give partial results of the process. The organizing body will send their results directly to the National Registry in Bogota who will report on the results of votes.