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Colombia goes highly divided to the polls to elect the next president

Colombia goes highly divided to the polls to elect the next president

Colombia goes highly divided to the polls to elect the next president

More than 39 million Colombians They are summoned to the polls this Sunday to elect the next president of a country that demands changes and that arrives at the polls divided between left and right options after a campaign marked by allegations of alleged fraud, attacks and espionage.

The electoral census is made up of 39,002,239 citizens, but since abstention in the country is usually close to 50%, it is expected that some 20 million Colombians will vote in the 12,263 positions installed throughout the country by the Registrar, the entity that organizes the elections. and that as a result of the failures it had in the legislative elections of March 13, it has been the target of numerous criticisms.

Look: Petro, ‘Fico’ or Hernández: Colombia faces historic and complex elections

The Registrar’s Office began last week to distribute the electoral material throughout the country and in the large voting centers, such as Corferias, in Bogotá, workers were finalizing the assembly this Saturday to receive tens of thousands of voters tomorrow.

Of the six candidates, only three have real chances, according to voting intention surveys: the leftist Gustavo Petro, from the Historical Pact; the right-wing Federico “Fico” Gutiérrez, from Team for Colombia Fico, and the independent populist Rodolfo Hernández, from the Anti-Corruption Governors League.

If Petro wins, he would lift the left to power in Colombia for the first time, a possibility that scares many because of his past as a guerrilla of the disappeared April 19 Movement (M-19), but mainly because of his ambiguity regarding certain political and economic issues. .

However, given the division of the electorate, it is highly likely that a second round will be necessary on June 19 between the two most voted tomorrow.

The polling stations will open at 8:00 a.m. local time (1:00 p.m. GMT) and will close at 4:00 p.m. local time (9:00 p.m. GMT), and it is estimated that two hours later there will be consolidated results that will allow us to know if Colombians will finally have to return to the polls three weeks later.

THE PHANTOM OF FRAUD

With this scenario ends today one of the most hostile campaigns in recent years and in which the ghost of fraud was stirred up by the different candidates.

The flaws in the vote count of the legislative elections, which were corrected in the final count, in which the leftist Historical Pact added nearly 400,000 more votes than those initially awarded, left the suspicion of electoral irregularities in the air. .

The main candidates have given the key to the lack of electoral guarantees by the Registrar until the last moment, and even Petro, who last month denounced an alleged plan to attempt on his life, also spoke a week ago of an alleged Government plan to suspend the elections that give him as a favorite.

These elections will be one of those with the greatest international observation, with the presence for the first time of an Observation Mission of the European Union (EU), which has been deployed throughout the country to accompany the process.

“We value your presence in Colombia to be guarantors of the smooth running of the elections for the Presidency of the Republic,” President Iván Duque said today, after meeting with the EU mission headed by Spanish MEP Javi López.

A mission from the Organization of American States (OAS) is also on the ground, from which Duque assured today that it is “very important” to have their “accompaniment.”

Despite international supervision, Petro insisted today that “the territorial presence of observation missions is useless if the technical audit of the software” of the Registry is not allowed.

“Until the last moment, this audit was prevented, which does not allow for guarantees about the absence of malicious algorithms that distort results,” Petro warned on his social networks.

CALL TO VOTE

“Fico” Gutiérrez, for his part, asked citizens this Saturday to go out and vote tomorrow so that the change that Colombians want is for the better.

“We are going to unite Colombia, no more hate speech, no more class struggle speeches, let’s build a country that is to improve, that the changes are to improve,” said the right-wing candidate on his Twitter account.

Gutiérrez, who a few weeks ago denounced an alleged espionage maneuver on his campaign with the installation of a microphone in one of its headquarters, which he attributed to Petro’s people, insists that the country cannot bear more division like the one seen in this campaign, something that seems increasingly difficult given the level of confrontation on social networks between supporters of the left and the right.

To guarantee security and normality in the elections, the Government launched the “Democracy Plan”, of which more than 300,000 members of the Armed Forces and the Police are part.

In compliance with the Democracy Plan, the Army indicated today that, with 80,000 soldiers, it will give priority to 50 municipalities in the departments of Antioquia, Arauca, Bolívar, Caquetá, Cauca, Chocó, Córdoba, Tolima, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo and Valle del Cauca, which are the most affected by the armed conflict.

For its part, the Police has more than 94,000 of its members throughout the country, whose top priority will be “the protection of the presidential candidates and their campaigns, and of the more than 12,200 polling stations, as well as respect for the rights humans,” the institution said in a statement.

Source: Elcomercio

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