Votes for five candidates to be nullified due to electoral fraud: Inspector General

Posted on Mar 19 2014 - 9:23am by Rico
Alejandro Ordoñez

Colombia’s Inspector General’s Office will request the nullification of votes for five candidates elected in last week’s Congressional elections due to claims of electoral fraud, the government oversight body announced Tuesday.

Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez made the statement after attending a meeting with a number of party representatives, which sought to address the numerous complaints of electoral irregularities that occurred during the March 9 elections.

Over 260,000 troops and soldiers were deployed t0 guarantee what the minister of defense later called the “most secure” elections in the country’s history, but independent observers, including the Inspector General’s Office, reported widespread voter fraud and vote buying schemes throughout the country, among other irregularities.

MORE: Colombia Congressional elections saw ‘unprecedented voter fraud and vote buying’: Electoral Observers

According to the Inspector General’s Office, the nullification process is already being pushed through the Colombian State Council. If successful, Afro-Colombian representative Maria del Socorro Bustamante, Yahir Acuña from the state of Sucre, Moises Orozco, Candelaria Rojas and Jose Rodolfo Perez would all be prematurely removed from office.

MORE: Afro-Colombians’ seat in Congress goes to non-Afro-Colombian

Representatives who attended the meeting included former Senator Piedad Cordoba, left-wing vice-presidential candidate Aida Avella, and members of political and ethnic movements from across the country.

“The Attorney General is the constitutional body that allows the most important rights are cared for. The Inspector [Ordoñez] is the guarantor of the electoral rights of Colombian men and women,” said Cordoba, who was herself expelled and barred from public office by Ordoñez in 2010.

Due to the numerous complaints of misrepresentation by ethnic and minority groups in many parts of the country, the Inspector General’s Office called on the Interior Ministry to submit a report containing the consultation to minority groups, in an effort to prevent candidates who do not represent the communities from being elected.

The Inspector General’s Office did not indicate what procedures would be adhered to for electing new congressmen, should the nullification process prove successful.

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