Colombians are increasingly in favor of ratifying a controversial peace deal with leftist FARC rebels that would end their 52-year long war with the state, two polls released on Friday indicated.
Colombia has been sharply divided over whether to vote “Yes” or “No” to the peace deal that will end the hemisphere’s longest-running armed conflict.
Over the past weeks, this division has convincingly been tilting in favor of the “Yes” vote, according to pollsters Ipsos and Datexco.
According to Ipsos, 72% of their respondents said they will vote in favor of the deal against 28% who said they will reject it.
The Datexco poll indicated that 65% would vote “Yes” and 28% would vote “No.”
Will Colombians ratify the peace deal with the FARC?
The poll results are a major relief for President Juan Manuel Santos, who has pinned his political legacy on the talks, but has had difficulty selling them to the public.
At the same time, the poll results are a major set back for former President Alvaro Uribe, who has been campaigning to reject the vote and forge a renegotiation. He also has been riding on a wave of broad disapproval of his successor.
Santos, however, has had the support of the leftist opposition, a coalition of victim and social organizations and a number of world leaders.
Uribe, at the same time, has become increasingly isolated in his opposition due to an accumulation of human rights and political scandals that have severally stained his reputation.
Both campaigns are pulling all their strings for the electorate’s preference.
Spurred by the campaigns, Colombians are engaging in fierce debates about the vices and the virtues of a deal that will eliminate one of the principal actors in a conflict that killed more than 265,000 while 45,000 are missing and feared dead.
Not only is the country ideologically divided between liberals and conservatives, it is also contorted over highly controversial elements of the deal, mainly in regards to the FARC’s participation in politics and judicial leniency for convicted war criminals.
Social organizations have stressed the necessity to end the conflict and its victimization, and implement political and rural reforms deals that seek to end Colombia’s decades-long cycle of drug-fueled political violence.
While an increasing number of pollsters now predict a victory for the “Yes” camp, many pollsters have proven to be volatile in their reliability in past electoral cycles.
The plebiscite in which Colombians rule on the deal will be held on October 2, six days after Santos and FARC leader “Timochenko” formally sign peace.
If Colombians ratify the deal its implementation will be continued as scheduled by the government. If not, there is not much certainty about what would happen next. The Santos administration has said a renegotiation of the deal that has already been negotiated on for more than five years is impossible.