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Published On: Mon, Mar 12th, 2018

Colombia’s election observers cry foul over failure to investigate fraud allegations

nsnbc : Alejandra Barrios, director of Colombia’s electoral observer, said the government has failed to install electoral tribunals to investigate hundreds of fraud claims made ahead of Sunday’s legislative elections.

Alejandra Barrios, the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), Colombia, 2018According to Barrios the Electoral Observer Mission (MOE) has received 213 reports over election fraud. However, the complains were not all investigated by a competent authority, she stressed. We received information from Bolivar about the irregular registration of identity papers; from Tolima we received information related to public officials’ participation in politics, while what has our attention in Bogota is the private sector, which is instructing employees to vote for certain candidates, the MOE director said.

Barrios told the El Pais newspaper on Friday that the government has failed to correct an irregularity in the vote verification software that allowed fraudsters to delete 250,000 votes in the 2014 election.

MOE director Barrios stressed that consequently, the government cannot guarantee that the election results from the 2018 congressional and presidential elections are not tampered with.  The security flaw was discovered by an independent Evangelical party that lost all its seats in the Senate because of fraud.

Barrios stressed that the government’s failure to install electoral tribunals means that reported election fraud in Colombia cannot be investigated by an appropriate authority. The government also failed to pay out advances for political campaigns. This has forced candidates out of the race, she added.

Barrios said that the public in Colombia is uneasy over corruption and about the biased coverage of the election campaign and related issues. “This campaign has been very weird. Many issues, like ´castrochavismo` which is related to the debate around the peace process with the FARC, have come on the table. But there are other issues I am not sure it the fear-mongering has been able to dominate the campaign. The people are asking for a fight against corruption and more transparency in politics”, she said. Barrios said she is concerned that the ongoing fraud and corruption is elevating abstention levels which would further increase the risk of fraud.

A/N – nsnbc 12.03.2018

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