Election day came and passed without any major incident, in fact, Colombia’s Defense Minister has stated that these have been the “calmest elections in 25 years.” That doesn’t mean there weren’t “irregularities,” after all, this is democracy. The biggest taint that is beginning to unravel about these elections is the “Parapolitics” card. Al-Jazeera reported that Paramilitaries in rural areas had been intimidating voters and the Mission for Electoral Observation (electoral NGO) reported that the controversial Party for National Integration (PIN) had been involved in “vote-buying.” The reason PIN is so controversial is that it is a coalition of relatives and spouses of other conservative parties that disbanded after many of its members were imprisoned for their direct ties to paramilitaries.
The PIN won 8 Senate seats and will join National Unity (27 seats), Conservative (23) and Radical Change (8) to form a dominant majority to support Uribe’s pick for President in the coming months. For the opposition, the Liberal Party held 18 seats, followed by Polo (8) and Green Party (5). Votes for the house are still slowly being counted but seem to reflect a similar trend as the Senate. This overwhelming support for Pro-Uribe parties will no doubt play a large role in the upcoming presidential elections on May 30th. Everyone is expecting this Congressional bellweather to whisk in presidential hopeful (and Uribista favorite) Juan Manuel Santos. Though Uribe has not specifically endorsed a candidate AND the OAS and other independent electoral comissions have not finished with their reports. It’s possible these electoral corruption charges could pan out and provide more support for the Opposition. Only time will tell.