Colombians vote on proposals designed to fight corruption

Latin America

Senator Angelica Lozano hands out flyers with information about the upcoming referendum aiming to battle corruption in Bogota, Colombia August 24, 2018 (REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez)

Colombians are headed to the polls for the fourth time this year, but it’s not to vote for their favorite politicians. This time, it’s to fight corruption in Congress.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue filed this report from Bogota.

Millions of Colombians are sick of the corruption in their country, and this Sunday, they’re going to try to do something about it.

Citizens are invited to vote on seven proposals to end corruption. For the results to be valid, more than 12 million citizens must go out and vote. That’s less than one-third of eligible voters. Each measure will need to get more than 50 percent of the vote to pass.

The seven proposals are presented in the referendum as questions. They seek to punish private and public corruption, and guarantee public accountability.

A week before the vote, politicians who support the bill made a Reggaeton music video to appeal to voters. They call corruption Colombia’s cancer, and mock legislators who have done nothing to fight it.

Senator Angelica Lozano campaigns on an upcoming referendum aiming to battle corruption in Bogota, Colombia August 24, 2018. (REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez)

“We have a mechanism in the constitution that allows for a popular vote – by way of this consultation – to give an order to Congress that in one years time, they must pass these proposals,” Former Senator Claudia Lopez said.

Newly sworn in president of Colombia Ivan Duque has confirmed his support for the referendum. However, the president’s party, the Democratic Center party, recently removed its support.

Former president Alvaro Uribe and Democratic Center Party members have said they will push through their own anti-corruption legislation. However, if Colombians get out and vote, they may be able to take corruption matters into their own hands.