Faced with the continued occupation of the Dominican Republic Embassy in Bogota by left-wing guerillas, Colombia's President Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala urged Colombians to repudiate violence and show their support for democracy by voting in Sunday's (9 March) municipal and provincial elections.
GV People on streets of Bogota
CU Elections posters on wall, PULL BACK TO Streets scene
SV Election material being posted on walls as military police patrol (2 shots)
GV Election materials handed out in square
GV PAN People walking past wall plastered in posters
GV Armed soldiers patrolling square where people are casting votes
GV People being searched by armed police before entering poll
GV People casting ballots
GV People searched as the enter another balloting station
GV Armed police outside poor suburban polling station
GV AND SV People entering polling station and being searched (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR People voting (3 shots)
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Background: Faced with the continued occupation of the Dominican Republic Embassy in Bogota by left-wing guerillas, Colombia's President Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala urged Colombians to repudiate violence and show their support for democracy by voting in Sunday's (9 March) municipal and provincial elections. But projectionists indicate only about thirty per cent of the country's thirteen point eight millions voters went to the polls.
SYNOPSIS: Figures released on Tuesday (11 March) indicate that the ruling Liberal-Conservative coalition totalled about ninety-two per cent of the vote in Sunday's elections (9 March). With eighty-six per cent of the vote counted, President Turbay's Liberal party totalled one point eight million votes, the Conservatives, one point three million and three left-wing parties--86,342 votes. But many observers took more note of the number of Colombians who stayed away from the polls.
The poll returns the traditional Liberal-Conservative coalition to power-the same group which consistently dominates Colombian politics. And an estimated seventy per cent of eligible voters stayed away from the polls.
Heavy security surrounded the polling stations and people were searched before they were handed their ballots. Some reports say that many Colombians have long since given up going to the polls in frustration at being unable to break the Liberal-Conservative strangle-hold. But the Liberal party which controls most of the provincial legislatures, and the Conservatives asked voters to show the world that Colombians are against violence and for democracy by turning out to vote. And talks with guerrillas holding more than thirty hostages inside the Dominican Republic's Embassy were suspended over the week-end during the poll.
The M-19 group--responsible for the takeover of the embassy is one of the smaller left-wing groups trying to unseat the government. The present administration has adopted tough anti-terrorist measures. But the embassy seizure is just one act in a continual stream of violence against government officials and diplomats. The administration's hope for a big turn-out to prove the people's faith in the democratic process was not answered and negotiations with the guerrillas holding the embassy continue.