Friday, September 29, 2023
HomeGlobalElections in Colombia: keys to a ballot that will mark a new...

Elections in Colombia: keys to a ballot that will mark a new political era

This Sunday the citizens of Colombia will vote in the second round of presidential elections that, according to all analysts, will mean a profound change in the political model that has governed the country in recent decades, or at least that is what the two candidates promise, the leftist Gustavo Petro and the populist tycoon Rodolfo Hernández.

Here are some keys to keep in mind to understand these elections:

1. The candidates

Gustavo Petro, senator and recurring candidate in the electoral race that competes for the Historical Pact. He was the most voted candidate in the first round of May 29, in which he got 8,527,768 votes (40.32%). He has the task ahead of himbring the left to power for the first time in Colombian history.

He is up against Rodolfo Hernández, a construction businessman, multimillionaire and former mayor of Bucaramanga, the country’s fifth largest city, who got 5,953,209 votes (28.15%).

With a populist speech Based on grandiose anti-corruption promises, its aim is to remove corrupt politicians who it says have been ruling all their lives.

Gustavo Petro and Rodolgo Hernández are measured at the polls this Sunday in Colombia. Photo: AFP

2. The possible vices

Whatever happens on Sunday, Colombia will have on August 7, when the new government takes office, its first African-American female vice president, since Petro and Hernández’s running mates, Francia Márquez and Marelen Castillo, respectively, share the same origin. However, they could not be more different politically.

Márquez is a renowned activist and lawyer from one of the areas hardest hit by the armed conflict, who knew how to attract and represent social discontent on the streets.

For her part, Castillo was the “perfect stranger.” Nobody knew who she was in politics until the “engineer” called her to be part of her campaign, to which she intends to bring her experience as a teacher and academic, in addition to influencing her Christian values.

Marelen Castillo (left) and Francia Márquez, the vice-presidential candidates.  Photo: REUTERS

Marelen Castillo (left) and Francia Márquez, the vice-presidential candidates. Photo: REUTERS

3. Tight voting

All the polls agree that, whoever wins, they will do so in a tight way, since neither poll gives one of the two candidates a clear victory in voting intention.

Hernández, who was the surprise of the first round after his sharp rise in the polls in the last week of May, did not know how to maintain this growing trend and has even decreased a little in the preferences.

Petro, for his part, saw just after the first vote how for the first time in a poll for these elections he was not the favorite.

However, he managed to maintain his votes and even grow somewhat in the trend, although it remains to be seen if he will get the additional 1.5 million votes he says he needs to reach the Casa de Nariño, the presidential palace.

Highlights of the two candidates for the presidency of Colombia.  /AFP

Highlights of the two candidates for the presidency of Colombia. /AFP

4. The figures

A total of 39,002,239 Colombians (20,111,908 women and 18,890,331 men) are authorized to vote in the 12,263 posts installed throughout the country by the Registry, of which 5,174 correspond to urban areas and 7,089 to rural areas. .

There are also 1,343 tables distributed in 250 polling stations in 67 countries for the 972,764 Colombians registered abroad to vote.

Voting at foreign embassies and consulates began last Monday and ends this Sunday.

In this second round, whoever obtains the simple majority wins. In the unlikely event that they get exactly the same number of votes, the decision will be made randomly, drawing a ballot from a ballot box, according to the Electoral Code.

The Colombian pre-count system is usually very fast, so the first results could be known within a few hours of the closing of the polling stations, which open at 8 in the morning and close at 4 p.m. local time (6 p.m. in Argentina). ).

5. Abstention and blank vote

The presidential card iIncludes a blank ballot box, which has been increasing in the last elections, and which in elections like these could be key; although while in the first round it can force an electoral repetition, in the second, its role is symbolic.

Many centrist voters, who in the first round voted for the centrist candidate Sergio Fajardo, are likely to opt for blank voting, something that may also be done by right-wing voters who do not see their project for the country represented in either of the two candidates, although a part of the conservative electorate will vote against Gustavo Petro.

A fundamental player will be abstention. In 2018 almost half of the electoral census, 47%, decided not to vote, while in the plebiscite for peace, in 2016, abstention reached 62% and was one of the reasons why the “no” to the agreement won with the FARC.

As happened with the first round, Sunday’s elections are held on the eve of a national holiday, which may influence participation, although those on May 29 had the lowest abstention in 20 years, registering 45%.

As happened in the legislative elections on March 13 and in the first presidential round, the European Union (EU) will send an observation mission with a hundred people.

The Organization of American States (OAS) will also deploy 87 observers throughout the country and the NGO Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) will also have a monitoring delegation. In addition, there are other missions from trade unions, international organizations and political parties.

Source: EFE


Recent posts