Colombians nix peace deal in shock vote
COLOMBIANS hit their government with a shock defeat when they voted by a razor-thin majority to reject a historic peace accord with communist FARC rebels.
Voters narrowly defied the government’s plan to put 52 years of bloody conflict behind them, reversing the trend of earlier opinion polls.
The “No” camp won by about 57,000 votes which translated into a lead of less than half a percentage point, electoral authorities said.
President Juan Manuel Santos admitted defeat in the vote but vowed to continue peace efforts.
FARC chief Rodrigo Londono, alias Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez, also vowed the force was committed to continuing peace efforts.
But it maintains “its willingness to use dialogue as the only weapon for building the future”.
Supporters of the accord had expected it to effectively end what is seen as the last major armed conflict in the Western hemisphere.
But the October 2 results were a crashing defeat for Mr Santos and the accord that he signed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Colombians voted 50.21 percent to 49.78pc against the accord, according to results published online. Turnout was low at just over 37pc.
Opponents of the deal, drawn up at peace talks in Havana, Cuba, resented the concessions made to the FARC, which has carried out killings, kidnappings and extortion.
The deal called for the 5765 FARC rebels to disarm in six months and convert into a political group with seats in Colombia’s Congress. –
“No” supporters celebrate following their victory in the referendum on a peace accord to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state in Bogota, Colombia, on October 2.