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OAS Mission in Colombia Highlights Atmosphere of Calm in Presidential Elections

  May 28, 2018

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) deployed in Colombia highlighted in its preliminary report the atmosphere of calm in which the first presidential elections since the signing of the peace agreements took place.

The Mission congratulated the Colombian people and celebrated the considerable increase in citizen participation, estimated at 53.38% of eligible voters, the highest number in the recent history of the country. The Mission also noted the widely pluralist nature of the election, which offered citizens a diverse options from across the political spectrum.

However, the Mission observed a high degree of tension during the campaign, which in some cases led to verbal and physical confrontations between sympathizers of the different campaigns, as well as threats against some candidates.

Adding to this, defamation campaigns and the promotion of false news were observed. In this context, the Mission recognizes the calls for moderation by the various presidential candidates, which was shown in the various debates that took place.

Ahead of the second round, the Mission calls respectfully on all candidates, political parties, media and citizens in general to promote a campaign focused on the discussion of proposals and founded on respect for those who think differently.

On election day, the Mission noted that before 5:30 in the afternoon more than 99% of the preliminary data was already available and that candidates spoke on the basis of this data, recognizing the results from the Registrar’s office. As part of its observation, the Mission verified that the information gathered by the observers during the day agreed with the information disseminated by electoral authorities.

Given that the presidential election process has not been completed, the OAS Observation Mission will wait for the second round to present a consolidated report that will include observations and recommendations in terms of electoral organization and technology, campaign financing, electoral justice, and women’s political participation, among other topics.

The Mission was possible thanks to the contributions of Germany, Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Italy, South Korea, Spain, the United States, France, Mexico, Norway, Peru and Switzerland.

Reference: E-030/18