Colombia has relatively strong and well-functioning democratic institutions. However, it has had difficulty expanding the influence of norms and institutions to the population, particularly in marginalized rural territories. The Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and the FARC guerrilla signed in 2016 was a turning point for the country’s political situation, marked by decades of conflict and strong violence. However, the Agreement was subject to a deep political polarization, which affected the last national elections. Colombia has a long tradition of electoral fraud, which has been a recurrent practice since the beginning of the Republic. The President and the Government have been confronted with waves of anti-government protests, and the rising social discontent and polarization may continue in the run-up to the 2022 presidential and legislative elections.
With the European Union Election Observation Mission, the EU aims to support the security, transparency and veracity of the Parliamentary and Regional Council Elections in Colombia in 2022.
An Election Exploratory Mission was deployed during March 2021 to assess wether the deployment in Colombia of the European Union Election Observation Mission was useful, feasible, and advisable. The main purpose of the Election Exploratory Mission was to collect information concerning the election process, including the political situation, election administration, potential for electoral violence, general security of the country, and logistics.
Once the EU Election Observation Mission was declared viable, the logistical, administrative, and security aspects of the EU Election Observation Mission are implemented to achieve the project objectives. To ensure that elections are free and fair, and that all citizens are able to vote freely, DT Global deployed a team of experts in Colombia. The Mission covers most of the territory of the country, except for certain areas that will be avoided due to security concerns (Archipielago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina).
It is essential that the Mission takes into account the risks that may arise during the implementation and guarantees the security and safety of its experts. The safety and security of the election observers will be ensured following the guidelines developed by the European Commission. Moreover, due to the pandemic situation, Covid-19 standard operating procedures have been created in adherence to Colombia’s rules and restrictions.
The EU Elections Observation Mission goals include: