They warn of risk in special zones of Colombian conflict in elections

Bogotá, Jan 24 (EFE) .- One of every six municipalities of the so-called Special Transitory Circumscriptions of Peace (CTEP), which were areas severely affected by the Colombian armed conflict, are at risk of violence in the face of the elections to the Congress of the next March 13, warned a report released this Monday. “As municipalities at consolidated risk of both factors indicative of electoral fraud and violence, we have indicated a total of 97 municipalities, of which 43 are at extreme risk, 44 at high risk and 10 at medium risk,” the director told Efe. from the NGO Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), Alejandra Barrios. The EOM requested special attention from the institutions towards those 43 municipalities, among which are found above all those in the Pacific area of ​​Nariño, Bajo Cauca in Antioquia (northwest) and Chocó (west), “because we are practically talking about holding elections in a very difficult context with the presence of illegal armed groups”. There the candidates have difficulties to make electoral proselytism and even of the voters to be able to go to elect their representatives on March 13, according to the MOE. THE PEACE SEATS These CTEPs must elect in the next elections 16 seats reserved especially for victims of the conflict, a point that was established in the 2016 peace agreement with the FARC but that had not been implemented until now. “These elections will be held only and exclusively in the rural areas of the country’s 167 municipalities, which are precisely the municipalities where the FARC demobilization process was detected but which currently maintain high levels of violence, the presence of illegal armed actors and very low institutional presence,” explained Barrios. These 167 municipalities will elect 16 special seats among 403 candidates from social organizations, victims, peasants and women, and ethnic organizations. The creation of the 16 seats, called Special Transitory Circumscriptions of Peace, was approved in 2017 in both chambers of Congress but as the final text was bogged down by bureaucratic obstacles and finally did not get its final approval. The Constitutional Court was in charge of reviving in May 2021 the possibility that the victims of the territories most affected by the armed conflict would have greater political representation. To do this, it took into account the degree of affectation by the violence, the presence of crops for illicit use and other illegitimate economies, the levels of poverty and the weakness or lack of institutional presence.

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