Colombia: Opposing peace with FARC, conservatives make gains at the polls | News | DW | 12.03.2018
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Colombia: Opposing peace with FARC, conservatives make gains at the polls

Marking its first election, FARC has failed to add to its 10 seats granted by the Colombian peace accord. But the Democratic Center secured an increase of more than 40 percent in the lower house by opposing the deal.

A hardline conservative grouping led by the Democratic Center party made gains in Colombia's legislative elections, according to official results published on Monday.

In the Senate, the Democratic Center garnered the most votes with 16.4 percent. It came in second in the House of Representatives with 16 percent, marking an increase of more than 40 percent compared to the 2014 election.

The conservative party, led by former President Alvaro Uribe, campaigned by opposing a peace deal struck between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) less than 18 months ago.

Read more: Colombia struggles with the demons of peace

The deal effectively ended the 52-year-old insurgency launched by the rebels. However, the accord also ensured a political party birthed from the rebel movement would automatically gain 10 seats in Colombia's lower and upper house.

Ivan Duque, who will run for the presidency later this year as a candidate for the Democratic Center, said the former rebels' ability to participate in the political process amounted to impunity after committing atrocities for decades.

"A true peace is built through the triumph of the rule of law, not by relativizing justice," Duque said.

President Juan Manuel Santos

President Juan Manuel Santos, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the decades-long conflict with FARC, described the elections as 'the most peaceful' in the country's modern history

Moderates gain, FARC loses

However, the conservative grouping fell short of an absolute majority with three moderate parties that had formed part of President Juan Manuel Santos' coalition government pulling 43 percent of the vote in the upper house and 38 percent in the lower house.

The moderate camp's result likely gives them the ability to block attempts to deride the implementation of the peace process.

On the other hand, FARC failed to gain any other seats besides the 10 allocated to them under the peace process. The rebels-turned-politicians garnered 0.35 percent of the vote for the Senate and 0.22 percent in the House of Representatives.

Read more: Colombia struggles to accept guerrillas' new political role

Their performance was in line with pre-election projections following a disastrous campaign that witnessed several of their candidates mobbed at rallies. Despite the peace process, much of the Colombian public remains outraged by atrocities committed by the rebels during the decades-long conflict.

FARC rebels in 1964 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.

ls/ng (EFE, AFP, AP)

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