FARC says it won’t take part in Colombia’s 2018 presidential elections

Despite the FARC’s insertion into Colombia’s politics with a recent peace deal, the Marxist rebel group said it will not put forth a candidate in the country’s 2018 presidential elections.

In an interview with the Argentinian magazine Crisis, FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, or “Timochenko”, said that the group will instead throw their support behind a candidate who supports the peace deal’s implementation.

The strategy will be “to promote a great front that brings together all those who worked for peace in Colombia,” according to the Crisis article. “The candidate will not be from the FARC, but a figure of consensus who guarantees the implementation of the accords reached in Havana.”

FARC to take part in Colombia’s 2018 elections, but with guaranteed seats

According to the FARC leader, the group is focused on rejoining “democratic life,” involving both the reintegration of FARC members in society, and political participation set on furthering the peace process, avoiding a return to war.

We must demand that [the peace deal] be implemented within the framework of the letter and the spirit of the agreements reached in Havana between the FARC-EP and the Colombian State. Colombia deserves Peace.

Rodrigo Londoño

He also expressed his desire to meet with the families of persons kidnapped by the FARC during the war in support of the peace deal’s transitional justice efforts, including those of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and her vice presidential running mate, Clara Rojas.

Colombia’s peace deal with the FARC was ratified by the Constitutional Court nearly a month ago, and the two sides are now working to comply with the 180-day disarmament and demobilization schedule agreed upon in the accords.

Better late than never: Colombia’s FARC rebels begin effective demobilization

The FARC’s integration into politics is part of a major, 10-year national peace process that seeks to end more than 52 years of political violence that has left more than 8 million victims.

While the guerrilla group transforms to become a Marxist political party, the government is set to embark on a series of political and rural reforms aimed at removing what are considered the main causes of the conflict, rural inequality and political exclusion.

Meanwhile, a transitional justice system for both guerrillas and members of the military is set to be put in place to seek truth and justice over the mass victimization of Colombians.

Apart from the estimated 16,600 FARC members, some 24,400 (former) state officials and 12,500 civilians who are either convicted or formally charged with war crimes will appear before this system.

But Colombian society is strongly divided and agitated over the process that seeks to end a war the majority of Colombians were born in and, rather than in victory or defeat, ended in compromises that for many are hard to swallow.

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