After obstacles, discussions, debates and legal actions, the next March 13 the 16 peace seats will be elected, where inhabitants of 16 territories affected by the conflict in Colombia, will have the possibility of being elected to hold a seat in the House of Representatives.
To meet the requirements in this election, the inhabitants of the beneficiary communities must prove that they are registered as victims by providing the letter that certifies the Victims Unit.
But less than two months before the legislative elections, victims of Chocó, Arauca, Norte de Santander and Montes de María and those who aspire to the constituencies of peace, denounced in an investigation of Colombia+20 of the newspaper El Espectador, the obstacles that are presented to them at the time of registering their candidacy.
To begin with, they refuse to collect $7 million by the Registry as a policy to give them 50% of the resources for their campaigns.
A candidate from Montes de María added that it is illogical to charge this to victims and organizations that do not have financial support and that nor can they receive private contributions.
In context: This is how the electoral cards will look like for the Peace Seat elections
For its part, the National Electoral Council argued that any citizen must comply with the legal system, which confirms that whoever aspires to a popularly elected position must enforce this policy.
“It’s $7 million without knowing in addition to how much the State’s contribution will be for our campaigns. To pay for that policy, we better do it by our account advertising in our territories”, assured a leader from Chocó.
In total, there are 398 candidates who will compete on March 13, 2022 for the 16 positions in the House of Representatives.
Another of the complaints they make is the few polling stations in the rural areas of their departments. According to the law that created the peace seats, “the CNE must create polling stations in rural areas of the 167 that make up the constituencies”.
According to the Registry, they were created 434 polling stations throughout the country. Even so, the candidates maintain that there are areas where people have nowhere to vote.
“The Hitnu people, who are around 150 people, have to move hour and a half by boat to the nearest village with a stall. In addition, they did not even know that they had to register their identity cards and that they have the right to vote for victims. Where are the delegates of the Registry? They didn’t even take the time to go there, ”explained the Arauca leader in the middle.
And the violence does not stop. One of the risks that also stands out is the pressure exerted by the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia and the Clan del Golfo, which threaten the inhabitants of the towns, to vote for a certain candidate.
This has been denounced by inhabitants of the rural area of Ovejas (Sucre).”Our list is threatened by AGC. The day before to register, they left him messages from my colleague on the list that they did not want us to do political proselytism and that if they saw him on those lists he would be declared a military target. We denounced it and the National Protection Unit is studying the case”, assured a leader.
Facing the security guarantees, the CNE assured that they have informed the Ministry of the Interior and the security forces of the cases that have reached them of threats and they are already They are the ones who have to protect them.
Finally, organizations such as the National Network of Initiatives for Peace and Against War (Redepaz) denounced that despite being an organization of victims was not recognized as such by the Registrar at the time of registering their candidates.
As a result of this lack of recognition, some victims of the conflict for acts such as forced displacement, homicide or kidnapping, they were left without the opportunity to be in Congress. Other members had to sign up through other organizations to be accepted.