HC Deb 10 December 2003 vol 415 c512W
Mr. Allan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reasons were given by the Colombian Government for the rates of voter abstention in(a) the Colombian referendum and (b) the municipal and departmental elections of 25 and 26 October. [143186]

Mr. Rammell

The abstention rate for the Referendum was high with participation at only 20.04 per cent. Our assessment, based on discussion with Colombian election officials and international observers, is that the security situation played its part, particularly in the more remote and more conflict-ridden areas of Colombia, where despite a state security presence the participation rate was below national average. The complexity of the questions on which citizens were being asked to vote also caused a reluctance to vote.

The elections had a better turnout of 50.49 per cent. This was about average for Colombian elections. The turnout for the Congressional elections and Presidential elections in 2002 were 42 per cent. and 50 per cent. respectively.