Colombia votes calmly in historic elections

Until noon, the presidential elections were taking place calmly in Colombia.

Colombia votes calmly in historic elections

Until noon, the presidential elections were taking place calmly in Colombia. As is customary, the President of the Republic Iván Duque opened the day by voting at eight o'clock in the morning and at table 1 located in the central Plaza de Bolívar in Bogotá, the heart of the Colombian capital.

A cold and rainy Sunday morning that did not help Bogotans to go out early to vote. Instead, the Colombian president, who ends his term on August 7, cast his vote saying "Long live democracy!", accompanied by the mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, the president of the Senate, Juan Diego López, his Minister of the Interior, Daniel Palacio and the National Registrar, Alexander Vega.

Then, he invited all Colombians to "vote with enthusiasm, joy, without hatred, without prejudice and without bias."

In the same city and with a climate of uncertainty regarding the possibility of winning the presidency in the first round, Gustavo Petro, the candidate with the highest voting intention according to all the polls, went with his family to the polling station at the Marco Antonio Carreño school. , in a popular neighborhood of the city. What he did not bring was the identity card and hence the delay of almost an hour to mark the card. Before a large group of journalists, Petro finally voted and said: “I trust Colombian society, in its will for change. In the end there are only two alternatives, a relatively simple choice.

Federico Gutiérrez, the candidate who could challenge Petro for the presidency in a possible second round, also got up early to vote in Medellín, his hometown. From the Inem José Félix Restrepo school, he encouraged citizens to go out and vote: «I invite people to join us in this process, because, really, Colombia needs to make changes, I recognize it and, of course, I am I am in the regions and I understand: there are things that cannot continue like this».

In that same city, but at the Inem del Poblado school, Sergio Fajardo, the candidate in the center and fourth in voting intentions, according to the polls, made one last effort to obtain the support of the voters, to mobilize the undecided to his please, asking them to "support me, to trust me, to make decency a way of behaving in Colombia so that we advance and get the best out of being Colombians."

And who could be the stick of election day and sneak into the second presidential round, the candidate Rodolfo Hernández, also got up early to vote, in the central Santander College in Bucaramanga, accompanied by his family and campaign team. Stopping words, he only commented that once he cast the vote he was going back to his house to sleep.

After noon, the Democracy Plan deployed by the Government did not give major reports of problems of public order or violence, except for the explosion of three minor artifacts in the departments of Caquetá and Guaviare, in the east of the country. The ELN, as it usually does on each election day, decreed a unilateral ceasefire from May 25 to June 3.

The mole of the day were the limitations that the Venezuelan National Guard imposed on Colombians residing in Venezuela who sought to cross the border to vote, which was prevented. Once Migration Colombia reiterated that citizens registered in the consulates could pass – it should be remembered that the country closed its borders on Saturday afternoon, to reopen them on Monday morning – the Venezuelan authorities facilitated the passage. However, the protests and tension at the Simón Bolívar Bridge were maintained by those who, without registering, intended to vote.

Although in matters of public order the day went by without a hitch, another was the report of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM), which very early received complaints about irregularities in some polling stations in the country. According to this organization and its report at eleven o'clock in the morning, it had already received 119 reports on possible irregularities and electoral crimes in 22 of the 32 departments of the country, including the purchase of votes, restrictions on access to vote, and the absence of election witnesses. For his part, the national registrar, Alexander Vega, assured that there are 500 international delegates supervising and monitoring the election day, which ends at four in the afternoon and in which it will be defined whether or not there will be a second round of elections. If there is not, this Monday Colombia will know the name of the country's new president.