Colombia: Anti-graft referendum fails to meet quorum


The measures needed approval from 12.1 million voters - or roughly a third of the 36 million registered voters.

Electoral officials count ballots after tables closed during the seven-question referendum on anti-corruption measures in Bogota, Colombia August 26, 2018.

A set of anti-corruption initiatives in Colombia failed to attract the required number of votes Sunday, despite earning almost 100 percent support of the voters.

As security in the country has improved in recent years, Colombians have increasingly turned their attention to headline-grabbing corruption cases, including vote-buying, graft to obtain public contracts and the extradition of the country's anti-corruption czar for allegedly taking bribes.

In Colombia failed attempt to hold a referendum aimed at tightening anti-corruption legislation. The referendum also sought to establish a limit of maximum three terms for elected officials in all three branches of government.

"It's not fair we invest so much in congressional salaries when there's so many families who don't earn even two minimum salaries", said Miriam Huerte, a 54-year-old house cleaner.

This consultation raises seven questions, on which the population must vote negatively or positively, in order to support or reject practices that give rise to acts of corruption at all levels of public administration. A faux reggaeton video starring politicians encouraging people to vote yes was widely shared on social media this week.

Newly elected President Ivan Duque and most of Colombia's main political parties say they back the measure, but they have done little to promote it or to lure voters to the polls.

"We were five cents short", said Green Party lawmaker Angelica Lozano, an outspoken supporter of the referendum and he told reporters late Tuesday, the vote represented "shaking of the traditional political class".

"We already have lots of anti-corruption laws", said Hermens Lara, a Bogota municipal judge who is director of the Board of Judges and Magistrates of Colombia.