A Senate commission on Thursday approved obligatory voting in Colombia as part of a political reform bill, possibly rolling it out for the referendum to follow any peace accord signed between the government and rebel group FARC.
The obligatory voting proposal would have a trial period after its approval with the so-called Balance of Powers reforms, if approved scheduled to take effect in June of next year, in which it would be used in the next three days of elections.
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An election for mayors and governors is scheduled for October 25, 2015. If an accord with the FARC is signed before then, obligatory voting could be implemented in the referendum that would accompany it.
The approval of obligatory voting still has to survive all of the sessions scheduled for the Senate commission to debate and approve the reforms. This was just the first of 8.
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Prior to its implementation, a law will have to be passed to regulate the rules and sanctions of citizens going – or not – to the polls. The Constitutional Court will have to approve that law.
In November of last year, Congress approved a law which would allow a referendum on the peace agreement currently being negotiated in Havana on the same day as elections.