AMERICA/COLOMBIA- Elections won by right wing contrary to negotiations for peace

Monday, 12 March 2018 elections   human rights   democracy   peace   armed groups  


Bogotà (Agencia Fides) – General elections in Colombia, held Sunday 11 March, saw a clear win for right wing Parties which openly oppose peace talks tabled with guerrilla groups of Marxist matrix. According to first results released, the right wing Democratic Centre group- opposed to peace talks with Colombia’s FARC (revolutionary armed forces of Colombia) - is now the main political group in the country. The Party founded by former president, Alvaro Uribe who led a bitter campaign against the Peace agreement signed in November 2016, obtained the highest number of votes in the Senate (17%), followed by the Social Democratic Party with 13%, with 95% of the votes counted. Only in third place with 12% of votes for the Senate, came the National Social Unity Party of president Juan Manuel Santos, with the right wing Radical Change and the Conservative Party. The preferences of the voters called to choose their representatives for the Senate and for Congress highlighted the leading roles of jurist Iván Duque and former mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro, confirming them as potential candidates for forthcoming presidential elections scheduled for 27 May.
Great surprise was registered for the mere 0.5 % of votes won by the new FARC party, which for the first time in the democratic life of Colombia had accepted to take part in the elections, following its transformation from armed militia to a political force.
Before the elections Colombia’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference, (CEC), launched a campaign to urge voters, especially Catholics, to go to vote, Mons. Elkin Alvarez Botero CEC secretary, in a video diffused on social media reminded Catholics’ of the duty to vote as citizens, and quoting Pope Francis he added: "Catholics must be present in the political life of the nation, taking part seriously and responsibly in the democratic debate".
Alvarez Botero, auxiliary bishop of Medellin, intervened to counter fake news calling Catholics not to vote and not to participate in the political life of Colombia. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 12/03/2018)