The decision of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to begin formal peace negotiations with rebel group FARC has received unanimous support of the country’s political parties, politically isolating former President Alvaro Uribe who opposes the talks.
The Liberal Party and opposition party Polo Democratico have explicitly supported peace talks before they were even announced and welcomed the peace talks and the government commission leading the peace talks on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Conservative Party initially held back support when rumors about peace talks broke a few weeks ago, but turned around on Tuesday. Party president Efrain Cepeda told Caracol Radio his party supported the talks and the content of the negotiation agenda.
Santos’ own U Party also expressed its support for beginning formal peace talks, despite an internal division between lawmakers loyal to Santos and former Uribe who has vociferously opposed peace talks.
By staunchly opposing the peace talks, Uribe is risking political isolation, says political analyst Kevin Howlett.
“As Santos’ coalition partners rally behind the president, Uribe is in danger of becoming a lone voice against the talks,” Howlett told Colombia Reports.
However, may Uribe prove to be right “and if the FARC are bluffing, then the Conservatives and U Party members still loyal to the ex-president could well swing behind their old boss, and in a blink of an eye.”
“But for now the prudent thing for all politicians to do is to support the president, to wait if and until the talks break down to strike,” Howlett said.