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OAS Mission Commends Colombia on Holding Most Peaceful Local Elections in Recent Years

  October 26, 2015

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) to the local elections held on Sunday in Colombia recognized today, in a preliminary report, the commitment of Colombian institutions as a whole to ensure transparent and safe elections.

The Chief of Mission, former Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom, said, “there is a strong possibility that these elections will be the last to be held before the signing of the peace agreements, and so, it is important to discuss the opportunity for a comprehensive reform of the electoral and party system, with the aim of creating conditions that ensure a more transparent, inclusive, and pluralistic system.”

The Mission welcomed in particular the installation and operation of the National Commission for the Monitoring of Electoral Processes, led by the Interior Ministry. It further noticed that these were the most peaceful local elections in recent years. According to data from the Colombian National Police, incidents of electoral violence decreased by 60% compared to the 2011 elections.

After the voting process was completed, the OAS Mission noted once more the speed of the system for the transmission of preliminary results and commended the National Civil Registry for its diligence and professionalism in this area. It also underscored that while participation slightly increased from 57.9% during the 2011 elections to 59.9% in 2015, the abstention rate remains high.

The OAS Mission deployed 40 international observers from 19 different nationalities in 22 departments of the Republic of Colombia to observe the elections of local authorities held on October 25. OAS observers visited 115 municipalities in the week prior to the elections and, on election day, were present in 214 polling stations.

Reference: E-321/15