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OAS Mission in Colombia finds tranquility and increased voter turnout

  May 28, 2018

Full report is available here.

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) deployed in Colombia underscores the climate of tranquility surrounding the first presidential elections held after the signing of the peace agreements. The Mission congratulates the Colombian people and welcomes the considerable increase in voter turnout, estimated at 53.38% of registered voters, the highest figure in the country’s recent history. It also welcomed the clearly pluralistic nature of the election, which offered citizens a diversity of choices from the whole political spectrum.

The Mission, headed by Costa Rican former Vice President Kevin Casas, deployed 79 experts and observers in 25 departments of Colombia and the Capital District. The team was installed in the country on May 15 with the arrival of experts in electoral organization and technology, who did a substantive analysis of the administration of the elections and the computer systems used in the various stages of the process. The expert group was completed with the arrival of specialists in electoral justice and campaign finance.

During its stay in the country, the EOM/OAS met with the various candidates, political and electoral authorities, and security forces, among others, to learn at first hand their impressions of and concerns about the presidential elections. The Mission appreciates the openness and confidence that it received from all parties involved in the process.

The Mission observed a high level of tension during the campaign, which in some cases led to verbal and physical confrontations between supporters of the different candidates, and in threats against some of the aspirants. In addition, the Mission observed defamation campaigns and false news on the social media networks. In this context the EOM/OAS recognizes the calls for restraint of the various presidential candidacies, an aspect that was reflected in the many debates that were held. For the runoff election, the Mission makes a respectful plea to the candidates, political parties, the media, and the general public for a campaign that focuses on the discussion of proposals and is based on respect for other opinions.

During the months prior to the election, many opinion polls were published, which as required by law, explained their methodology. However, there was also release of projection models that were methodologically opaque and lacking scientific validity, which were used as tools to distort voters’ intentions. The EOM appeals for the responsible publication of opinion polls, and especially avoiding release of electoral projections that can be used for voter manipulation.


Full report is available here.

Reference: S-023/18