Colombia’s upcoming second round of elections, slated for June 15, presents a conflict with both soccer fans and fathers as the government pushed-back Father’s Day, and Colombia’s World Cup debut could be dampened by a law banning the sale of alcohol.
The timing of elections is entirely beyond the control of the government. The first round must occur the fourth Sunday of May. Since none of the candidates received at least 50% of the total vote, by law a second round of elections must transpire three weeks after the first round. The timing of this second round has inconvenienced both soccer fans and fathers.
Father’s Day fiasco
Decree 1023 by the Ministry of the Interior stated that Father’s Day, celebrated globally on the third Sunday of June, would be moved to June 22, one week after elections.
The Ministry of the Interior recognized the second round of elections being required by law since no candidate received more than 50% of the votes in the first round, and that the election of the “President and Vice-president of the Republic could affect citizens’ participation, and as a consequence disrupt the normal development of the electoral process.”
Also noted was the Constitution, where Article 258 states that voting is “a citizen’s right and responsibility.” These two considerations led the Ministry to conclude that it is “necessary to adopt the necessary measures to promote and facilitate the active participation of all citizens in the next elections,” thus moving Father’s Day to June 22.
The Ministry’s press release stated that the change of date would also eliminate any inconveniences caused by transportation restrictions or the dry law enacted by Colombia during the elections. The prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol between 6PM the Saturday before elections and 6AM the day after elections, known as the “ley seca” or dry law, was one of the considerations by the Ministry of the Interior in moving the date of Father’s Day.
Soccer sore spots
Father’s Day isn’t the only impediment to potential Colombian electoral participation. Colombia’s first World Cup game since 1998, against the Greek national team, will occur the day before elections (14 June), sparking concerns of alcohol-fueled violence. Fan violence is often associated with soccer in Colombia, among both winners and losers.
Although the Colombia – Greece match occurs the day before elections, the dry law can dampen the celebratory (or depression-induced) drinking that would occur after the match. Despite the illegality of consuming alcohol during the dry law, it will still occur resulting in the possibility of many Colombians showing up to the polls hungover – or not at all.
There is a five hour window in which Colombians can buy alcohol between the approximate end of the Colombia – Greece game and the commencement of the dry law.
- Ministry of the Interior – Decree 1023 (Ministry of the Interior)