Colombia election: Right-wing parties opposed to FARC deal win support

14 March, 2018, 00:52 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Former guerrilla commander and Senate candidate Pablo Catatumbo

The insurgent group announced they would hold a unilateral ceasefire between March 9 and 13 in respect of people who meant to vote in Sunday's legislative elections.

Full results were expected Monday but it was clear by Sunday night who voters had chosen from the right-wing and leftist coalitions as candidates to contest the presidential election in May, following primaries held in parallel to the legislative vote.

For the House of Representatives, the parties with the most votes were the Liberal Party (PLC), the Democratic Center (CD) of Alvaro Uribe and the Radical Change (CR) party.

Petro's promise of a "social economy" that would raise taxes and shift away from oil, Colombia's top export, towards agriculture has anxious investors in the Andean nation as opinion polls showed the former member of the disbanded M-19 guerrilla group and ex-mayor of Bogota running ahead of Duque.

Uribe's hand-picked presidential candidate, Sen.

Known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, Londono had been the FARC's bet to replace President Juan Manuel Santos when the latter leaves office in August, but heart surgery on Wednesday has put him out of the race. He is in favor of the peace deal and is proposing a "social economy" for Colombia with increased taxes for the rich. He won 2.8 million votes in his primary on Sunday. "The presidential campaign starts today".

The peace accord with the now-renamed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guarantees their new political party 10 of the 280 seats in the new Congress, five in the Senate and five in the Chamber of Deputies.

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Candidates were mobbed by angry crowds at rallies and the party had to cancel its public meetings.

"In my 64 years, this is the first time I am exercising my right to vote, and I am very happy and very moved to do so for the reconciliation of our country", Torres said via Twitter. "It's the first time in my life that I have voted and I doing so for the sake of peace". The FARC peace deal and ELN negotiations will top the agenda as the presidential election campaign gets underway.

The Farc, who kept their acronym when they transformed from an insurgency into a political party, took a meagre 0.33% of the vote. He won an unexpectedly large victory over two more moderate rivals to become the candidate of the main right-wing coalition.

Conservatives have opposed the FARC peace deal.

"There are no big changes, there are adjustments", Frederic Masse, an expert in armed conflict and the peace process at Externado University, told AFP.

In 1964, FARC rebels launched an insurgency against the Colombian state in response to the government's brutal suppression of a peasant uprising. "They will not be seen as true representatives of the people", said Valencia, referring to the fact that the FARC is guaranteed 10 seats in congress under the terms of the peace deal that ended more than a half century of brutal conflict.

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