Colombia’s local elections saw a steep drop in violence, the government reported Sunday evening.
Violence fell by 86% since the last local elections in 2007, Colombia’s Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras announced. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon estimated the reduction closer to 60%.
“Fortunately, regarding public order and security things are very positive,” President Juan Manuel Santos said from the National Police headquarters from where he was monitoring the elections.
Seven violent incidents occurred while the polls were open, Vargas Lleras said. The elections in Leiva (Nariño), Betoyes (Arauca), La Hormiga (Putamayo), Toribio (Cauca) El Castillo (Meta), Aguadas (Caldas) and Flordia (Valle) were distrupted by violent attacks.
The Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) reported three incidents of political violence, and 33 irregularities. There were seven reports of result altercations, the electoral observers said.
The irregularities came from 21 Colombian departments. MOE estimated that 22% of irregularities occurred in the northwestern department of Antioquia, 14% in the northern department of Bolivar, and 11% in Bogota.
A city council candidate in San Calixto, in the Norte de Santander department was reportedly attacked. The electoral observers also reported a pamphlet circulating in the municipality of Santa Lucia in the Atlantico department that threatened voters in neighboring towns.
The organization also reported that black propaganda, or false electoral information, were circulating in Cali, Colombia’s third largest city, and El Dorado, in the central Meta department.
The city of Medellin reportedly saw voting intimidation at the polling stations in comunas one, five and six, and in Altavista.
Six percent of MOE observers reported difficulties in their work.
According to Pinzon, electoral authorities seized a total of 176 firearms and over $390,000.