Electoral violence marks the Colombian political landscape one month after the voting

The return of electoral violence marks the Colombian political landscape in the absence of a month for the elections of mayors and governors of October 27, in which there is still no candidate who is clearly a favorite to the most important mayors of the country.

On October 27, Colombians will go to the polls to elect mayors from more than 1,100 municipalities and 32 governors, as well as representatives to departmental assemblies and municipal councils.

The campaign has had several episodes of political violence, which returned to Colombia after in 2018 lived the calmest electoral cycle of its recent history by the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC and by the unilateral ceasefire of the guerrilla fire of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

According to a report by the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), a platform of organizations that promotes the civil and political rights of citizens, 69 candidates have been victims of violence since last July 27.

Of these, seven were killed, eight suffered attacks, one is kidnapped and the remaining 53 were threatened.

The main victims of political violence in this campaign have been candidates who aspire to mayors, governors, councilors, deputies and councilors by coalitions (12 cases), the rightist Radical Change (eight), the Liberal Party (seven) and the official Democratic Center (six).

The case that has caused the most commotion is that of Karina García Sierra, a candidate for mayor of the municipality of Suárez (southwest) who was murdered on September 2 with five of her companions, including her mother, after which the bodies They were cremated.

The conservative politician Bernardo Betancourt Orozco, who aspired to the Mayor of the municipality of Tibú, in the department of Norte de Santander (border with Venezuela), as well as Orley García, who aspired to be alderman of Toledo, in Antioquia was also killed by strangers (northwest), by the Democratic Center.

Another case that has shaken the country is the kidnapping of Tulio Mosquera Asprilla, candidate for the Liberal Party for the Mayor of Alto Baudó, in the department of Chocó, bordering with Panama, which occurred 33 days ago.

"We are verifying some information that has come to us and hopefully we can find it ... hopefully we will see what the outcome is, hopefully it will be positive for your family and for the country," Army Commander Nicacio told reporters. Martinez

The departments in which more cases of violence have occurred during the campaign are Cauca, Arauca, Valle del Cauca and Antioquia.

An MOE source explained to Efe that "it is clear that where acts of violence are occurring there are illegal armed groups," among which he mentioned the guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN), the FARC and Clan dissidents del Golfo, the largest criminal gang of paramilitary origin in the country.

"What is intended to affect are decisions of the security and the local economy. Therefore, who manages, for example, drug trafficking businesses in the Colombian southwest, depending on who it is, what it needs is to affect the local electoral process," he added.

In that sense, he explained that unlike the political violence of previous decades, what the perpetrators are looking for is not to affect a party but to control local economies.

The panorama of political violence, the source added, is related to the murder of social leaders during "the pre-election period."

"The political parties were not responsible for looking at the risks in their candidates. So we have that the parties so far are systematizing and measuring the level of risk that their candidates have," he said.

On the other hand, the race to the mayor's offices of Bogotá and Medellín is at odds and in those cities the voters are undecided, so none of the candidates have managed to stand out in the polls.

In the case of the Colombian capital, the mayoral candidate of the Alianza Verde party, Claudia López, led from the beginning of the campaign in all polls but in the most recent one, published yesterday by Yanhass, the independent Carlos Fernando Galán It appears in the first place.

The survey - prepared for RCN News, La FM, RCN Radio, El País de Cali, El Colombiano and La República - places Galán with 31% of the intention to vote, 6.4 points ahead of López who would get 24 , 6%.

In Medellín Alfredo Ramos Maya, from the right-wing Democratic Center, and independent candidate Daniel Quintero Calle are at the top of the struggle for mayor.

According to the National Civil Registry Office, which organizes the elections in Colombia, 117,822 people are registered as candidates for the elections of October 27.

Of the total registrations 176 aspire to governor, 5,187 to mayors, 3,583 to assemblies, 95,487 to municipal councils and 13,389 to Local Administrative Boards (JAL).

(tagsToTranslate) violence (t) electoral (t) panorama (t) Colombian (t) voting

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