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    Colombia Waits for Poll Results


    by NTDTelevision

    Officials began counting the results of Colombia's Congressional elections. The results are expected to be an indication of presidential elections in May.

    Election officials have begun counting votes in Colombia's congressional elections, in what's seen as a precursor to the country's presidential election in May.

    Partial tallies indicate that President Alvaro Uribe's U Party and Conservative Party have secured most seats in the Senate.

    Some twenty eight million Colombians cast ballots the counting of which is being overseen by international observers.

    Enrique Correa, from the Organization of American States, said counting will be watched closely.

    [Enrique Correa, Organization of American States Observer Mission]:
    "We have the impression that the process in its entirety is a process that goes on with normality towards the scrutiny tonight and we hope to be able to confirm that scrutiny."

    In February a court ruled Uribe could not run for re-election, making Sunday's polls crucial for his political allies to build a majority in both houses of Congress.

    A strong showing in the election by Uribe's U Party will benefit his potential successor Juan Manuel Santos, while a weak showing could mean other parties will introduce their own presidential candidates.

    Conservative Uribe remains popular after cracking down on FARC guerrillas and drug traffickers.

    After voting on Sunday Uribe said:
    [Alvaro Uribe, Columbian President]:
    "The armed forces are doing a great job to protect democracy in all the country, the protection of the democracy comes from citizens doing what is right, I wish success to the country in this day for democracy."

    Colombians voted for candidates ranging from former hostages of FARC rebels, to veteran politicians, to soccer players.