The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS), which observed the parliamentary elections on March 14 in Colombia, denounced on Tuesday vote-buying in at least six departments of the country.
Enrique Correa, head of the mission, said that the main vote-buying cases happened in the departments of Atlantico, Bolivar, Magdalena, Cundinamarca, Narino and Norte de Santander.
He said the OAS mission, which monitored 16 out of the 32 departments of the country, found many voters were paid in cash or in goods when they cast their votes, some voters were even offered scholarships, and other voters received 20 thousand pesos and a sandwhich in return for their vote.
Correa, who led a 70-member observation team, said that the buying of votes is a “leading phenomenon” which “mocks the norms of the electoral financing.”
The OAS mission chief noted that the lack of electoral logistic materials made secret votes convenient, adding that other problems included deficient training of the juries and a fallible process of collecting data from different polling stations.
Vote-buying, considered common in Colombia, was denounced earlier by the Mission for Electoral Observation, that also concluded that voters in the west of Colombia had been threatened and intimidated by neo-paramilitay groups.