Colombians will go to the polls on Sunday, May 27, to choose their next president. If no one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote - a likely outcome given that there are five contenders - a run-off election will be held on June 17.
Political rallies and protests may take place ahead of the vote as well as after the release of the election results. Heightened security measures are to be anticipated in the vicinity of polling stations on election day. Political violence (assassinations, attacks on electoral officials or polling stations) is possible, notably in areas plagued by organized crime. The ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) guerrilla group has pledged to carry out a unilateral ceasefire May 25-29; however, the country’s other armed groups have not made any such promises.
Colombia’s land and maritime borders will be closed ahead of the election, as is customary. Borders with Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil will be closed from 00:01 (local time) on May 26 until 16:00 on May 27, coinciding with the scheduled closure of polling stations. Border crossings with Venezuela will be closed for a longer period, from 00:01 on May 24 until 06:00 on May 28. Extra immigration agents will be on duty once borders reopen to avoid major delays. However, longer-than-normal processing times are likely. International flights will continue to operate as normal.
The prolonged closure along the Venezuelan border is due to the massive daily influx of Venezuelans crossing the border to buy goods that are unavailable in their home country, suffering from an economic breakdown, and the increased presence of criminal groups in the border region.
Individuals are advised to plan travel to and from Colombia accordingly, avoid political events and polling stations, and adhere to all local regulations. Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including organized crime groups, drug cartels, right-wing militias, and local gangs in addition to the ELN - many Western governments advise against travel to various regions of the country (particularly rural zones).