Five days after announcing the second agreement in its ongoing peace talks with the FARC rebel group, Colombia’s government released the first specific details clarifying what the “political participation” deal consists of.
In a press conference Sunday, top government negotiator Humberto De la Calle explained some of the 22 points reportedly included in the most recent agreement — the second of six scheduled negotiation topics — and laid out the government’s argument for offering the FARC a pathway to official political authority.
De la Calle framed the deal, which would also include reforms to Colombia’s greater electoral system, as an effort to “secure the roots of peace [in the country]” and “amplify, modernize, and strengthen [Colombia’s] democracy to make it more robust, more participatory, more pluralistic and more transparent.”
De la Calle broke down the political participation accord into three broad categories: guaranteed security for opposition voices; participation in elections; and election reform.
According to De la Calle, the first set of discussion points guarantees opposition supporters the right to participate fairly and justly in politics.
De la Calle made reference to a new security system that would protect citizens participating in opposition politics — many of whom come under threat from illegal armed groups — and stated that the government will be more vigilant in bringing repressive interests to justice.
“It is not just a tool. It is a conjunction of new values in the name of security,” the negotiator said of the as-of-yet unspecified security plan.
The second category, he said, will revise the current electoral system to “invigorate more political participation and strengthen citizen involvement.”
“The foundation will remain the same, but the application will limit the amount of methodologies of assigning congressional seats. This would open up enormous space and opportunities for political parties to…acquire valid political expression.”
The final category reportedly proposes greater transparency with regards to political finance and broader electoral reforms of the organizations in charge of administering elections.
A prior reference to “special territorial peace districts” ignited a public debate in national media outlets, but on Sunday, De la Calle emphasized that such peace districts will not mean exclusive congressional seats for the FARC, as many had claimed they would.
“[These peace districts] will not be created to promote the FARC’s representation in congress, but rather to increase the political participation within the legislative branch of those who were most marginalized by the armed conflict,” he said.
The negotiator repeated that these districts are for “victims, farmers, women and social sectors,” and that allegations that they are just for the FARC are simply “false.”
Peace talks began in Havana on November 19, 2012. The next rounds of talks will focus on defining the terms of a cease fire between the FARC rebels and the government.
So far, only two of six topics have been settled by negotiators. Each agreement in the negotiation process is contingent on a broader deal being reached.
- Circunscripciones de paz no son para aumentar representación Farc (Vanguardia Liberal)
- Curules sirven a zonas en conflicto, pero preocupa amenaza de las Farc (El Colombiano)
- Negociador del Gobierno dice que no habrá curules directas para Farc (El Pais)