Polling stations in Colombia closed at 4PM local time on Sunday after one of the most hotly contested election races in recent memory.
Six candidates were competing for the right to take over the presidential mantle from outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos on August 7.
Unless one of the candidates was able to obtain more than 50% of the votes, a run-off round between the two leading candidates will be held on June 17.
The first elections since a 2016 peace deal with leftist FARC guerrillas were relatively free from violence by illegal armed groups.
Yet these elections haven’t been immune to criminal acts.
The Interior Ministry has reported 978 incidents related to electoral irregularities, including the murder of a campaigner for leftist candidate Gustavo Petro.
The leftist candidate accused his conservative rival Ivan Duque of benefiting from “pre-marked” votes in Cauca and Bogota and said that thousands of electoral witnesses were not allowed to monitor the elections.
According to the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), there have been 24 incidents of illegal advertising. Campaigning for political candidates on election day is strictly prohibited. Electoral witnesses, who are in charge of monitoring electoral rules, are responsible for 39% of the cases. Voting juries are responsible for 18%.
There have been reports of voter registration forms being missing.
The government along with independent electoral watchdogs deployed thousands of volunteers to monitor today’s voting, with the threat of electoral fraud threatening to undermine the outcome.
International observers have also descended on the South American country to oversee proceedings.
Petro accused the vote-counting system of being permeable to fraud while other candidates, including President Santos, dismissed Petro’s claims as of the “extreme left.”
No matter the outcome, today’s elections will go down as historic with the former FARC guerrilla organisation, which is now a political party, being able to participate in the vote for the first time.