The turnout for the upcoming presidential elections will be higher than in previous years, predict a number of experts. This higher turnout will favor candidate Antanas Mockus who has been able to “massively” mobilize young Colombians, who traditionally don’t take part in the electoral process, these experts say.
According to a report in newspaper El Tiempo, Colombia’s registrar is expecting 16 million people to vote, while in the last elections only 14 million showed up to one of the booths to cast a vote.
Registrar Carlos Ariel Sanchez attributes this to the fact that a disproportionally large number of youth are able to vote for the first time.
The director of pollster organization Gallup, Jorge Londoño, also expects that the current presidential race and the active campaigning will cause a higher turn-out than before. “A competitive election provokes the people to vote. And when there is an opinion candidate [as opposed to candidates who buy their votes] this normally mobilizes new groups of people,” Londoño told El Tiempo.
Patricia Muñoz, director of the Javariana University’s Public Opinion and Political Marketing department, says that the influx of a lot of young voters and their apparent political activity has “given the Mockus phenomenon an incentive” that caused him to rise in the polls.
According to the experts, these new “opinion” voters will determine the results of the election, as a higher turn-out means relatively fewer votes for the traditional political elite to which Partido de la U candidate Juan Manuel Santos and Conservative Party candidate Noemi Sanin are considered to belong.
The first round of Colombia’s presidential elections will be held on May 30.