OAS Electoral Mission Highlighted Decline of Violence in Legislative Elections in Colombia

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March 12, 2018

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Colombia today presented its preliminary report on the legislative elections and inter-party consultations held on Sunday, March 12, the first elections in the country since the signing of the Peace Agreements, which included the participation of the FARC as a political party following more than half a century of armed conflict.

The report of the Mission, headed by the former Vice President of Costa Rica and former Secretary of Political Affairs of the OAS Kevin Casas, highlights the notable decrease in the risks to public order associated with the voting process. "This contributed positively to the organization and holding of the elections in a peaceful environment without need to change voting centers, except for the one case in the entire country. In terms of public order, the vote has been the most peaceful in many years. This deserves to be recognized and celebrated," notes the report.

However, the Mission expressed its concern over the aggressions suffered by some candidates for the presidency and other political actors in campaign activities. It expressed its "forceful condemnation" of these acts and called for their timely investigation.

The Mission also noted the increase in electoral participation with respect to the legislative elections of 2014, although it continues to be low compared to the rest of the region.

During the voting, the 20 observers and experts of the Mission visited 76 voting centers and 167 voting tables.

In its first report, the Mission presents a series of preliminary observations and recommendations to contribute to the integral and continuous improvement of the Colombian electoral system. Following the presidential elections, it will present a complete report before the Permanent Council of the OAS, which will also be delivered to the Colombian electoral authorities and the other actors in the electoral process.

The complete report will address the following issues: electoral norms and justice, political financing, political participation of women, political participation of indigenous peoples and afrodescendants, electoral organization, civic information, communication, and education, accreditation of electoral witnesses, training, inter-party consultations, and electoral technology.

Reference: E-016/18