On May 29, over 39 million Colombians are summoned to the polls to elect the president and vice president for the period 2022-2026. The candidates with the best chances of reaching the Presidency are Gustavo Petro (Historical Pact), Federico Gutierrez (Team for Colombia), and Rodolfo Hernandez (League of Anti-Corruption Rulers).
With much less citizen support, Sergio Fajardo (Hope Center Coalition), John Rodriguez (Fair Colombia, the Free Ones), and Enrique Gomez (National Salvation) also compete for the Presidency. Below are the main events of this democratic process as they happen.
08h10: Ivan Duque votes in Bolivar Square. After voting at a polling station in the National Capitol in Bogota, outgoing President Ivan Duque invited citizens to go to the polls with "enthusiasm, joy, and without hatred."
He was accompanied by Interior Minister Daniel Palacios, Civil Registry Director Alexander Vega, Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez, and Senate President Juan Gomez.
"We have one of the most solid democracies... because every four years we make an orderly transition, where power is ceded in peace and tranquility," Duque said in a speech that was surprising due to its little relation to reality.
His statements took place amid a political environment characterized by polarization between social forces, accusations of fraud, and threats against progressive candidates, who are the great favorites to reach the Presidency. In reaction to the elites' idealized vision of their country, Colombians took to social networks to harshly criticize the Duque regime.
During the Duque term there’s been a total of 219 massacres in 3 years, with a total of 836 victims. The number has likely gone up since. Colombia is fighting to rid itself from what many consider one of the most corrupt narco-governments in the world. pic.twitter.com/RlpP3GDmkl— Fiorella Isabel (@FiorellaIsabelM) May 24, 2022
"What democracy? They forget that drug traffickers bought the presidency for Duque in 2018. Today we go out to vote with fear because we don't trust the electoral system. In Colombia what exists is a CEOs' cracy," tweeted Simone, a Colombian physicist.
"That Duque recovered Colombia. What?? Please! Colombia had never been so bad. What Duque did was plunge the country into misery, return to the logic of war, and continue dividing the country among his mafia and corrupt friends. Read, please! Get informed!," writer Leandro Vinasco recalled.
"I vote in memory of the young people who lost their lives for Colombia," Marycela Ayala said, recalling the consequences of police brutality against citizens who criticized Duque's policies.
08h05: The Ombudsman's Office reports normalcy at the start of the elections. Colombia's Ombudsman Carlos Camargo announced that his institution is monitoring the electoral process with nearly 3,000 officials, public defenders, and contractors.
"The collaborators of the Ombudsman's Office will be present at polling stations, in temporary detention centers, prisons and penitentiary establishments, and in the unified command posts installed by authorities," he said.
“The day began with relative calm throughout the national territory. We will be present at all polling stations in the country from 7 a.m. until the end of the count. We invite all Colombians eligible to vote to go to the polls early,” Camargo added.
“We hope that the voting takes place in an environment of respect and tolerance so that Colombian democracy is strengthened. We call on all citizens to go to the polls and exercise their right to vote freely and without constraint or coercion.”
During the electoral process, the Ombudsman's Office will receive complaints, petitions, and reports directly at the polling stations and at its regional offices.
08h00: Citizens began to vote. The Colombian polling stations will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to receive 39 million citizens at 102,152 polling stations installed throughout the country.
The Civil Registry, which is the institution in charge of organizing the elections, mentioned that a first consolidated result of the elections may be provided before 8:00 p.m. local time. This will allow citizens to know whether there will be a need for a second round between the two most voted candidates. In this scenario, the next electoral contest will take place on June 19.
To guarantee security in the elections, the Duque administration launched the "Democracy Plan", which involves both the Armed Forces and the Police.
On Saturday, the Army indicated that it would prioritize the surveillance of the subnational territories most affected by the armed conflict, among which are 50 municipalities in the departments of Antioquia, Arauca, Bolivar, Caqueta, Cauca, Choco, Cordoba, Tolima, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, and Valle del Cauca.