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Colombia court orders congress to ratify seats for conflict victims

A Bogota court on Monday ordered Colombia’s congress to ratify 16 temporary seats in the House of Representatives for regions that have been ravaged by armed conflict and state neglect.

The increased political participation for victimized regions is part of a peace process with the FARC, until August the country’s largest guerrilla group.

The measure would allow victims to elect regional representatives in the 2018 and 2022 elections.

Colombia’s peace deals in depth: Political participation

The bill was struck down by Senate President Efrain Cepeda (Conservative Party) after 50 of 102 senators voted in favor of the bill.

The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos challenged this decision in court. Because three senators are in jail, the bill received a 50 of 99 majority vote, according to the government. The State Council agreed.

Colombia’s victims win round: State council approves congressional seats

At the request of a human rights defender, the 16th Bogota Administrative Tribunal on Monday ordered Cepeda to immediately ratify the bill that has been opposed by many in his party.

A third lawsuit that seeks to sink the senate president’s decision, filed by Interior Minister Guillermo Rivera, is currently being studied by the Cundinamarca Administrative Tribunal.

The Senate president told weekly Semana that he was studying the most recent court order.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the president, Colombia’s constitutional court has a final say on the bill before it becomes law.

The political participation of victims is one of a dozen bills that stem from a peace agreement with the FARC, but have failed to make it through Congress.

Colombia will take to the polls in March to vote new lawmakers that will take office in August.

Colombia court orders congress to ratify seats for conflict victims was last modified: December 12th, 2017 by
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