Polling stations for Colombia’s second-round presidential elections closed at 4 PM on Sunday, with various incidents reported across the country.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
Activity and non-activity from Colombia’s guerrilla groups
The FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group, declared a unilateral cease-fire in anticipation of the elections as negotiations continue in Havana, Cuba.
Despite the recent announcement of a formal peace process underway with second-largest guerrilla group, the ELN, they rejected the possibility of a ceasefire in the wake of the elections.
Whereas the first round of elections saw both guerrilla groups declare a temporary ceasefire, the ELN abstained from doing so this time round, adding nonetheless that they would “respect the desire and right of the electorate to exercise their vote.”
The ELN was accused by the Colombian military of starting a roadblock in the western Choco state on Sunday, claiming that the block was preventing 8,000 people from voting. The ELN allegedly distributed a pamphlet in that same area calling on people not to vote.
To ensure safety, the Colombian armed forces also deployed 450,000 security forces in anticipation of the elections, citing the reinforced military presence as a part of the success in security experienced during the first round.
Possible electoral violations
The Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), an independent Colombian electoral watchdog, reported 80 incidents of electoral irregularities and fraud in various regions across the country. The 80 possible cases gathered from 6AM to 10:15AM during the second round of Colombia’s presidential elections.
The majority of reports, which range from allegations of illegal political propaganda to those of vote buying, came from the central state of Tolima, and the northern states of Bolivar and Cesar, the MOE report read. Furthermore, a countrywide ban on alcohol and firearms was also put into place Saturday night and will continue through Monday morning in order to ensure a peaceful election process, according to the government.
Citizens also reported potential vote-buying incidents in the municipalities of Valledupar, Cerete, Gachala, Pereira and Pasto, representing at least one city in every major Colombian region.
Dry law and rules intended to facilitate elections
According to a decree released by the Interior Ministry, the countrywide “Dry Law” prevents the sale and consumption of alcohol from 6PM Saturday to 6AM Monday.
Within the same decree, the Ministry has also set a number of rules and guidelines to be adhered to on election day for media outlets, political gatherings and campaign rallies, public transport services, and a restriction on firearms.
Results expected early
As votes continue to be counted, results will be released by Colombia’s Registry Office throughout the evening with final results expected by 5 PM.
With the results of the first round of Presidential elections delivered in record time, these elections are expected to be no different.