§ 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.