A right-wing opponent to the peace deal will face off against a leftist former mayor for the Colombian presidency in May. The primaries were held alongside legislative elections which allowed former rebels to stand.
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.
The country tends to have a low turnout rate alongside an average of 18 percent of votes invalidated in parliamentary elections since 2000, according to figures from the Sweden-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
Only 15 million ballot papers were printed for an electorate of 36 million for the primaries. "Due to budget problems, not all cards were printed," elections registrar Juan Carlos Galindo told reporters. He said he had approved the use of photocopies where cards had run out.
Anti-peace deal Duque to face leftist Petro in May
Ivan Duque of the Democratic Center party won the right-wing primary on Sunday taking more than 3.9 million votes, with 96 percent of ballots counted. He will lead the hardline opposition to the peace deal which allowed the FARC rebels to take part in the elections, with a guarantee of five seats in the Senate and five in the lower house.
A close ally of former President Alvaro Uribe, Duque is a lawyer who wants to see the deal with the rebels renegotiated.
Former-mayor of the capital Bogota, the leftist Gustavo Petro will oppose Duque in the May presidential vote. He won 2.8 million votes in his primary on Sunday. He is in favor of the peace deal and is proposing a "social economy" for Colombia with increased taxes for the rich.
"Our results were very positive" Petro told his followers after hearing of the first results. "The presidential campaign starts today."
The first round of the presidential election is set for May 27, with the runoff planned for June 17.
In a bid to rebrand as a political party after shedding their combat gear, FARC changed their name to the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, which stays true to their Spanish-language acronym.
"I think this is a crucial moment for Colombia," said former rebel commander Pablo Catatumbo, who is running for Senate. "It's the first time in my life that I have voted and I doing so for the sake of peace."
"The mere fact of not applying what has been signed would be enough for this agreement to be ineffective," said Frederic Masse, a Colombian conflict expert at the Bogota-based Externado University.
In 1964, FARC rebels launched an insurgency against the Colombian state in response to the government's brutal suppression of a peasant uprising. The ensuing conflict left more than 250,000 people dead, seven million displaced and 50,000 missing.