Colombian voters reject Farc peace deal
Having suffered one of the longest insurgencies in living memory, Colombia looked set to see an end to 52 years of war with Farc guerrillas. Despite the opportunity, the end looks no closer, with results from the vote showing just 0.4% difference in favour of no. This decision has left much doubt and confusion over what kind of future the Colombian people can expect.
Before voting had commenced the polls were showing a large victory for the yes camp, with estimates suggesting a victory by as much as 66%. The polls proved to be far off the mark with the result showing 50.2% to 49.8% for no, a difference of fewer than 54,000 votes out of almost 13 million. The result also showed how few people took part in the process, with just 38% showing up at the voting stations.
Despite both government and rebels repeatedly claiming a better deal was unachievable, former president Alvaro Uribe, who opposed the peace deal, now feels the government must press ahead in agreeing a better deal with the Farc hierarchy.
Current president, Juan Manuel Santos, who staked his legacy on achieving peace, plans to meet all political parties today in an attempt to keep the peace deal alive. Santos was keen to insist the vote will have little impact on the stability of the country.
This deal has proved unpopular with many Colombians, as it would have allowed rebel leaders to avoid jail if they confessed to killings, kidnappings, indiscriminate attacks and child recruitment. With many feeling the only way to bring an end to this conflict is to see every member of Farc behind bars, it’s likely any potential peace deal both parties are happy with is still a long way off.