Colombia’s incumbent President, Juan Manuel Santos, is seeking to buy 200,000 to 300,000 votes in the north of the country to secure his reelection on Sunday when the second-round run-off of elections take place, the party of his rival, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, said Monday.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
According to the Democratic Center party of former President Alvaro Uribe, “reliable sources” have said that Santos met with a number of congressmen from the Caribbean department of Atlantico in order to obtain the votes through the illegal practice of vote-buying.
The Santos campaign has a $15 million budget for the sole purpose of buying votes, said the Democratic Center, adding that the allegedly corrupt politicians plan to buy votes for prices ranging from $15 to $25.
Santos was extremely successful in Atlantico during the first round of elections on May 25. With a dramatically low turnout of 24%, the incumbent was able to receive 195,000 votes, representing 48% of ballots from that department.
Nationally, the president received 26% of the votes.
Because of the low turnout, the department that is home to Colombia’s fourth largest city, Barranquilla, has a major voter potential of 1.6 million.
Electoral watchdog MOE received 40 complaints from Atlantico before, during and after the first election round. Most complaints came from the Antioquia and Tolima states in which Zuluaga clearly defeated his rivals.
Vote-buying is common in Colombia; During the first round of elections, Colombia Reports and electoral watchdog MOE received complaints about attempted vote buying in favor of both Santos and Zuluaga. This website was unable to verify these claims.
To prevent voter fraud, the MOE has a website, pilasconelvoto.com, where citizens can report alleged cases of election fraud.