Right-wing par­ties op­posed to peace deal lead Colom­bia vote

DNA (Delhi) - - World -

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.

—REUTERS

Gustavo Petro

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