The Organization of American States (OAS) has initiated its election monitoring campaign in various Colombian cities and has reported no irregularities in the lead up to Sunday’s presidential elections.
On Saturday, a team from the OAS’ Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) visited the coastal city of Barranquilla and reported that there were “no concerns” about voting irregularities or electoral fraud.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
MOE delegates visited the headquarters of the presidential candidates in Colombia’s fourth largest city, and also met with local campaign leaders.
The head of the OAS monitoring team and the former president of Costa Rica, Jose Maria Figueres, told the El Heraldo newspaper that the mission’s goal was to “accompany and observe the process to ensure that the election runs smoothly.”
There are no concerns about important electoral risks,” said Figueres, adding, “We cannot guarantee that irregular situations will not occur.”
A statement published on the OAS website announced that the MOE will present its preliminary findings on Colombia’s electoral process on Monday, and submit a report to the organization’s Permanent Council in the coming weeks.
The MOE presence in Colombia consists of 64 international experts from 15 OAS member states and four observer countries, according to the OAS.
“For several weeks, a group of experts has been working on the observation of key aspects of the electoral process, such as electoral technology, campaign financing, electoral security, the vote abroad, and the resolution of electoral disputes,” the statement read.
The OAS observers will be present throughout 24 different states in Colombia, as well as the capital city of Bogota.
Sunday marks the culmination of what has been a contentions and controversial campaign race, particularly between the campaigns of incumbent president, Juan Manuel Santos, and his main political rival, hardliner Oscar Ivan Zuluaga,
Both candidates have been rocked by scandals in recent months, in a process that political analysts have referred to as one of the dirtiest political campaign races in recent national history.
The latest statistics indicate that no candidate will reach an absolute majority in next Sunday’s contest, and that the country will therefore see to a second round runoff between the two leading candidates.
The most recent poll, released by Datexco just before the cut off — according to law, no polls can be released a week leading up to the elections — showed a narrowing gap between the incumbent, Santos, and Zuluaga, with a wide range separating the frontrunners from the rest of the field.