Right-wing parties opposed to peace deal lead Colombia vote
Bogota: Right-wing parties opposed to a peace deal with the FARC won historic elections in Colombia Sunday but fell short of a majority in polls that saw the former rebels enter the Congress.
The hardliners’ victory raises questions about the future of the peace agreement signed with President Juan Manuel Santos in November 2016.
Santos said the polls were “the safest, most transparent elections” in the country’s recent history, with the FARC spurning jungle warfare for politics, and the ELN -- the country’s last active rebel group -- observing a ceasefire.
“This is the first time in more than half a century that the FARC, instead of sabotaging the election, are taking part in it,” he said, adding that the ELN had “respected” their ceasefire.
The Centro Democratico party of ex-president and senator Alvaro Uribe, a fierce opponent of the peace agreement, polled the most votes, winning 19 seats in the Senate and 33 in the lower house. Voters also chose the candidates from the right-wing and leftist coalitions who will contest the presidential election in May. Ivan Duque, of Uribe’s party, won the right-wing primary with more than 2.7 million votes, or 67 per cent of the poll.
Gustavo Petro, a former Bogota mayor who is seeking to become conservative Colombia’s first leftist president, will oppose him after winning nearly two million votes, 85 percent of the poll, in his primary.