Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Presidential Race in Colombia enters Key Stage

Presidential Race in Colombia enters Key Stage

The Marxist group, now transformed into a political party called the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force, failed to take a single seat in congressional elections as it polled less than one per cent on a day where the big victor was a hard-right critic of the peace accords.

Santos has made no secret of his dream of "complete peace" in Colombia, having signed a peace deal in November 2016 with its biggest rebel group, the FARC.

However, with the scars of half a century of civil war still raw, Colombians widely shunned the former guerrillas' candidates, instead favouring right-wingers who campaigned on an anti-Farc platform.

The deal guaranteed the party five seats in the Senate and five seats in the lower house through 2026, regardless of the number of votes it receives in elections.

Duque, a protégé of former president Alvaro Uribe, backs foreign investment and an aggressive security strategy meant to combat the country's remaining rebel group, which regularly bombs oil pipelines.

Since the Farc took up arms against the state in 1964, some 220,000 people were killed and over seven million displaced. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round will be held in June.

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Watford have now lost all five of their away Premier League matches in the month of March. "The spirit and desire was good". Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville could not resist taking a sly dig at the misery of bitter rivals.

Petro said that despite the fact that right wing parties performed better in the legislative elections, his newly formed party has a good opportunity to win the presidential ones.

Results of Sunday's vote, however, show that many still disagree with the terms of the 2016 peace deal.

"There's now sure to be at the presidential level a shake out of candidates over the coming weeks as we approach the first round - Petro can't yet be completely discounted but he looks further from his goal today compared with Friday", said Rupert Stebbings, managing director of equities at Grupo Bancolombia. Both candidates have vowed to implement the peace deal.

"We are in a different phase now", said Jenny, a former Farc fighter, from a camp in Colombia's eastern plains where she lives with other ex-combatants.

Colombia and the Marxist ELN guerrilla group will restart peace talks in Ecuador, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday, after a six-week pause marked by deaths on both sides.

Sunday's primaries - in which Duque won nearly 42 percent more votes than Petro did - were considered a better test of voter support than often inaccurate opinion polls, although some voters will have participated strategically and may not back either victor in the presidential vote.

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