Less than 20% of the 546,000 Colombians living abroad across have made use of their right to vote in this year’s presidential elections, according to national media.
Colombia’s Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), an independent observer group from the Organization of American States, has expressed its concerns at the low rate of turnout, radio station Caracol reported.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
More than 500,000 Colombians are able to vote abroad, but so far, there is an 87% abstention rate.
“The information we have is that this week very few people attended to vote. We have nearly 560,000 people eligible to vote. In the elections for Congress the abstention was 92%. That is critical,” said MOE Director Alejandra Barios.
Colombians living abroad have been able to vote since last Monday at 217 polling stations spread across 64 countries. Foreign polls close at 4PM Colombian time, the end of the national election period, as well.
MOE calls for Colombians living abroad to use the last hours available to them to go and vote.
“We want Colombians abroad to go vote. The effort is very large and it is remarkable that many people are not going to vote,” said Barrios.
Barrios went on to explain that the significant costs of administering foreign elections are being wasted given the low turnout.
“There are some costs that are high in order to carry out of the the possibility to vote in this country. There are 217 polling stations, which had to have juries throughout this week, voting witnesses, and all that it means equipment as flyers and boths; furthermore staff that transmits the data,” said Barrios.
Ultimately, concluded Barrios, in an interview with RCN Radio, high foreign abstention rates should be a topic of concern and reflection within Colombia.
“We regret that this happened, but we think it should lead to a political debate about why participation is so low in these elections,” said Barrios.
- Abstención de más del 80 % en las elecciones del exterior (Caracol)
- MOE revela que abstencionismo en elecciones presidenciales alcanza el 87% en el exterior (RCN)