This paper examines Colombian electoral behaviour variables from the 2003 mayoral and council elections (specifically voter participation and the effective number of political parties) to try to identify how they have changed since previous periods (1988-2000). The changes are examined within the political context of the last elections and the 2003 political reform, the dynamics of the internal armed conflict, and the nationwide humanitarian crisis. The paper also qualitatively analyses the relationship between election results, the regional dynamics of the internal armed conflict, and the effects of the political reform, using first hand data from four municipalities: Barranquilla (Atlántico), Pasto (Nariño), Arauca (Arauca) and Barrancabermeja (Santander). The effect of the armed conflict on electoral guarantees is also examined as it directly affects the scope of the political reform.
The paper is divided into four parts. The first deals with some of the conceptual difficulties for democracy in Colombia (the armed conflict and humanitarian crisis). The second analyses the 2003 local elections and examines general electoral tendencies following the changes introduced by the political reform. The third explores the results of the qualitative analysis; and finally the authors draw their conclusions, which they hope will help future analyses of the current state of democracy in Colombia to go beyond just the electoral dimension.
Ceballos, M. Working Paper No. 74. The Country Behind the Ballot Box: the impact of political reform in Colombia during a humanitarian crisis. (2005) 26 pp.