Colombia ready for 2018 presidential election, Bogotá boosts security

BOG702. MEDELLÍN (COLOMBIA), 26/05/2018.- Una mujer instala las mesas de votación en un colegio electoral hoy, sábado 26 de mayo de 2018, en Medellín (Colombia). Este domingo se celebra la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales en el país. EFE/Luis Eduardo Noriega

As 36 million Colombians head to the polls tomorrow to vote for their first post-conflict president, here are some need-to-know facts, and recommendations, about the historic May 27 election.

To facilitate citizens’ arrival to the voting stations, there will be no Sunday bicycle Ciclovía or Recreovía tomorrow. All public parks, however, will remain open.

For voters heading to Corferias, TransMilenio has announced that a feeder bus from CAD TransMilenio station to Avenida Américas with Carrera 36 will be in operation from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Bogotá’s Secretary of Mobility has announced the following detours and road closures in Bogotá on Sunday, given expected large voter turn-out.

Road closures

Corferias: Road closure will take place between Carrera 33 and Carrera 40 and between Av. De las Américas and Calle 26, with controlled access to residents of this area only.

To access Corferias, voters can go through Calle 26, Carrera 33 and Av. La Esperanza. Voters’ entry into Corferias will be done at the normal points.

There are 96,724 tables in 11,233 polling stations across the country ready to receive voters as of 8 am. Poll close at 4 pm.

Unicentro: Roads will also be closed between Carreras 14 and 14 A between Calle 119 and Calle 121. Carrera 13 will operate in a single direction North-South between Calle 119 and 127 from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Accessing this polling station can be done through Calle 119 and Calle 127, Carrera 13 and Carrera 15.

Rules at Polling Stations

Colombian citizens need only to bring their cedúla to their designated stations in order to cast their ballot. Persons with disabilities will be able to enter the voting stations accompanied by an adult.

The use of cell phones or video cameras at polling stations is strictly prohibited.

To ensure the safety and security of the electoral process, 155,000 security forces will de deployed across Colombia. 73 municipalities, mainly located in Nariño, Norte de Santander and coffee region – Eje Cafetero – will be given special attention due to the risk of public disturbances and potential acts of sabotage by the country’s last remaining guerrilla organization, National Liberation Army (ELN).

The overland border crossings with Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador will be closed as of midnight on Saturday and re-open at 4 pm on Sunday.

The sale and public consumption of alcohol across the country will be banned with the implementation of Ley Seca. The alcohol restriction starts 6 pm Saturday and ends 6 am Monday. Persons stopped by the police with alcohol or suspected of being intoxicated will arrested.

The mayor of Bogotá, Enrique Peñalosa has guaranteed that an extra 20,000 police offers will provide security in the capital and recommends all citizens report suspicious activity to the authorities.

Hospitals across the city will be on Green Alert in anticipation of any emergency situations that may occur.

Colombia’s National Electoral Council has announced that 300 international observers will monitor the elections. The group includes special envoys from the OAS (Organization of American States), European Parliament, European Union, and the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organisations, among others.

The National Registry will begin announcing the results after polls close. If no candidate wins 50% plus one vote, a run-off is scheduled for June 17.


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