Colombia’s Minister of the Interior German Vargas Lleras has laid down the rules for maintaining public order during the upcoming October elections, Colombian media reported Tuesday.
According to Caracol TV, the electoral regulations have been defined in Law 1475, which Vargas Lleras said “in addition to covering safety issues, also regulates matters concerning electoral propaganda, the role of the media during the process, the regulation of surveys and opinion polls, and of course the measures that must be met in the upcoming election, all of which are mandatory.”
From Monday, October 24 through October 31, political events may only be held indoors. Any group or individual organizing a political event prior to these dates must first alert the mayor.
All electoral messages, interviews, debate, programs and press conferences leading up to the election must “respect honor, reputation and privacy” of other candidates. Vargas Lleras stressed that the media coverage must ensure plurality and impartiality.
Preventative measures to protect candidates will include police escorts, self-protection training, residential security, and extra security detail in public electoral events, especially in municipalities deemed to be especially at risk.
On election day, October 30, the media can only report on voter turnout and public policy information issued by the authorities. Sharing election results is prohibited until the election authorities announce that the election has officially ended.
From 4AM on Saturday, October 29 to 4PM on October 30, the government will have the the authority to close land and water borders in order to prevent foreign influence on the elections.
According to El Espectador, any type of persuasive propaganda that is being distributed or carried on October 30 will be seized by the National Police.
To ensure order and safety, all weapons permits will be suspended, except for those carried by military authorities. Governors and mayors will hold the power to restrict motor vehicle and motorcycle traffic and make additional restrictions, including a curfew, as they see fit.
The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages will be prohibited from 6PM on Saturday, October 29 until 6AM on Monday, October 31.
The law requires that all mass transit systems operate at least 80% of their vehicle fleet during voting hours, and do not raise fees to take advantage of users on election day. The Ministry of Transportation may adopt additional measures, such as route changes, to get citizens to the polls.
Voters can only carry a memory aid, with the names of candidates and groups they intend to vote for, into the voting booth. “During the general election, phones, cameras and video cannot be used inside the voting booth,” the interior minister said.
“Starting at 4AM, the start of the vote count, it is the responsibility of the Electoral Organization to ensure that witnesses are monitoring the process through their powers granted by the law,” Vargas Lleras explained.