Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, the candidate of the political movement of former Colombia President Alvaro Uribe, has gathered enough signatures to take part in the elections held in Colombia in May.
Zuluaga from the Uribe Democratic Center gained 450,000 valid signatures from a total of 1,220,820 according to the National Civil Registry.
Despite 63% of the total number of signatures being invalid, Zuluaga still exceeded the minimum of 391,836 valid signatures needed to achieve official candidacy status.
The Uribe-loyal former finance minister has become the first person of this election campaign to achieve official candidacy status through this signature-based system.
Existing political parties do not need to get signatures unless their last election result was below the threshold set for parties or candidates to take part.
The new movement of Uribe has encountered a number of problems ahead of its first election cycle; One of the party’s primary candidates was sent to jail as prosecutors are investigating his alleged ties to paramilitary death squads. Zuluaga also has a criminal investigation pending because of similar accusations.
Additionally, the Colombian electoral authority rejected the party’s proposal to use Uribe’s name and face in the branding of the party, and has denied the party’s House candidates to take part in elections in five of Colombia’s 32 states as the UCD failed to collect enough valid signatures there.
Colombia will take to the polls in March for the congressional elections and in May for the first round of the presidential poll.