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Cablegate: The 2010 Colombian Elections Process

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P 311254Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0400
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 9098
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2825
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 8127
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RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS BOGOTA 002772

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV OAS CO
SUBJECT: THE 2010 COLOMBIAN ELECTIONS PROCESS

REF: BOGOTA 2625

1. Colombia has entered into the 2010 election cycle.
National legislative elections to replace the entire Senate
and House ("Camara") are scheduled for March 14 and
presidential elections are scheduled for May 30.
Departmental (state) and local elections will take place in
2011. All elections are for four-year terms.

2. Following is a timeline for the 2010 national legislative
and presidential elections:

2009

Sep. 15: The last day to switch parties before the elections
Sep. 27: Three parties hold internal primaries to select
presidential candidates and some congressional candidate lists
Nov. 30: Deadline for sitting President (Uribe) to declare
his candidacy
Dec. 15: Deadline for registration of independent
presidential candidates (Note: This is earlier than the
deadline for candidates representing previously registered
parties.)

2010
Jan. 29: Formal start of presidential campaign season
Feb. 2: Deadline for registering congressional candidates
Mar. 12: Deadline for registering presidential candidates
from previously registered parties
Mar. 14: Congressional elections
Mar. 16&21: Tallying of Congressional votes
May 30: Presidential and vice-presidential elections
May 31-June 1: Counting of votes for President
Third week in June: Second round of presidential elections
(if necessary)
July 20: First day of new Congress (Senate and House)
Aug. 7: Presidential inauguration

3. To be elected President in the first round, a candidate
must obtain at least 50% of the vote -- a difficult feat when
there are numerous candidates. If there is no victor in the
first round, a face-off between the top two vote-getters is
held three weeks later in June.

4. One hundred senators are elected nationally, with each
voter voting for one senator. Two additional senators are
elected from indigenous communities, bringing total Senate
size to 102 senators. Each department (state) elects two
House (Camara) representatives, plus an additional number of
representatives depending on each department's population.
Again, each voter votes for only one House candidate. Voters
also elect additional House representatives for special
seats: two reserved for Afro-Colombians, one for indigenous
communities, one for Colombians abroad, and one for political
minorities (the top vote-getter among parties that did not
win a House seat). There are currently 166 total House
seats. For the first time, "combined lists" grouping
congressional candidates from more than one party in loose
coalitions will be permitted.
Brownfield

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