Polling stations in Colombia closed and vote counting has begun, following the Andean nation’s relatively incident-free presidential elections. The national registrar, Carlos Ariel Sanchez, said that voter turnout was higher than in the 2006 elections.
According to the national registrar, Carlos Ariel Sanchez, almost 16 million Colombians cast their vote between the opening of polls at 8 PM and the close at 4 PM. This figure is a one-third increase from the nation’s 2006 turn-out.
If these preliminary figures are accurate, this would be the highest voter turnout in Colombian history.
Polling stations closed before many Colombians were able to cast their votes, due the high turnout, with long lines of people queuing outside stations.
The Registrar’s Office predicts that around 90% of the votes will have been counted by 8 PM Sunday local time.
FARC guerrillas were active in several regions around Colombia during polling.
If no one candidate wins the 50% plus one of the vote required to win outright, the two most voted-for candidates will face-off in a second round election, which is expected to be the most contested in Colombia’s recent history. Supporters of both Mockus and Santos have accused each other of buying votes. Other candidates have criticized what they call Santos’ campaign irregularities.
The winner of these elections will succeed Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who occupied the presidential palace for two consecutive terms since 2002, but was barred from a bid for a third term by the country’s Constitutional Court.