Concerns grow of low voter turn out a problem the nation has faced in past elections.
CGTN’s Michelle Begue examines the issue.
It’s election season in Colombia, but not all citizens here are enthusiastic.
Colombia has a historically high abstention rate. In the last presidential election four years ago, a full 60 percent of eligible voters sat out. For many years, fears of violence amid an armed conflict and access were cited as reasons. Now, many analysts say politics and its politicians are excluding the masses.
“Politicians need to include the 60 percent who don’t vote in the political discourse. Because instead this benefits candidates who are radicals who have a discourse against the establishment and against the system,” said Pedro Viveros a political analyst.
Analyst Pedro Viveros says the issue is cultural That Colombians are not taught to participate. He points to countries like Costa Rica, where unofficial elections are held for minors to help spark an early passion for democracy.
“In Colombia we haven’t fought for a democracy, people aren’t asked to permanently participate, it is done sporadically”, said Pedro Viveros.
Even the “voto en blanco” or blank vote, which can be used as a form of protest, is underused. If the blank vote were to win an election all candidates would be thrown out. But fake news campaigns aim to misinform voters.
You could say there is hope In Colombia’s March congressional elections voter turnout went up to 48 percent. It will be up to the candidates now to see if they can pick up the momentum.