Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Colombia's Santos says will restart talks with ELN rebels

Colombia's Santos says will restart talks with ELN rebels

Voters, analysts and even Santos himself have scoffed at the group's decision to keep its infamous Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia by naming its political party the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force.

"It's the first time in my life that I've voted and I do it for peace", he said after completing his ballot at a Bogotá polling station.

The deal guaranteed the party five seats in the Senate and five seats in the lower house through 2026, regardless of the number of votes it receives in elections.

The election campaign in Colombia starts today a new and crucial stage with the definition of the eight candidates that will contest the presidential chair next May 27.

The Farc, who kept their acronym when they transformed from an insurgency into a political party, took a meagre 0.33% of the vote.

But the major winners of the election, a coalition of right-wing forces centered around former president Alvaro Uribe's Centro Democratico party, have led opposition to the peace deal, and what they see as indulgent treatment of organizations involved in atrocious crimes. Many Colombians remain angry at the FARC, infamous for kidnappings, bombings and displacements, and believe they should be in prison, not running for congress. "Many are furious that people with blood on their hands can run for elections". If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round will be held in June.

Presidential elections in May could determine the fate of the talks.

Results of Sunday's vote, however, show that many still disagree with the terms of the 2016 peace deal.

"Although no party won a majority outright, together the three right-wing parties have 50 seats in the senate, which will make passing a law very hard without at least some of their support", Steele said. "That said, the uncertainty surrounding the future of the peace agreement could be enough to moderate any recovery in financial markets if Duque's rise in the polls continues in the coming weeks", analysts said. "Whatever happens, I'm not going back to war".

Santos, who cast his vote near the presidential headquarters in Bogota just past 8 a.m., also celebrated the FARC's participation in the electoral process.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the resumption of peace talks with ELN rebels Monday, March 12, aiming to conclude an historic deal before leaving office in August, despite election gains for hardliners who reject his policies.

Like this: