An electoral delegation from the Organization of American States (OAS) arrived in Colombia on Wednesday to monitor the upcoming presidential elections, according to local media reports.
Led by ex-Costa Rican president Jose Maria Figueres, the delegation, entitled the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States, consists of a team of 64 expert overseers as well as representatives from 15 member states and four observer countries.
|“Voters must make the effort to learn what the various proposals being made by candidates in this race are [and] vote based on an informed decision.”|
Members of the team have been arriving in Colombia since May 16 with work beginning in earnest on Wednesday in preparation for the presidential elections on May 25.
The delegation has been tasked with keeping track of anti-fraud technology and studying electoral security, campaign finances, voting abroad and any disputes between candidates.
Voters struggle with the “right to vote”
According to Figueres in an interview with Semana magazine, the key problem facing the upcoming presidential election is that exercising the right to vote is “something that many people are still struggling with.”
“Voters must make the effort to learn what the various proposals being made by candidates in this race are [and] vote based on an informed decision,” he said.
However such knowledge of the proposals has proved difficult to get in this round as there has been no televised debate with all candidates present.
Figueres also stated that the key t0 improving Colombian elections against fraud is to understand that “there is always an opportunity to improve systems and in that sense I think, in a respectful way, that reforms are necessary.”
The mission will be present in Colombia’s capital of Bogota as well as in 24 of the 32 states.
Figueres is also scheduled to meet with each of the five candidates for the presidency, Colombian electoral authorities, community leaders and representatives of the international community.
The OAS electoral mission was also present at Colombia’s congressional elections on March 9.