Less than half of Colombians believe that formal peace talks with the ELN, the country’s last standing Marxist rebel group, will succeed, according to an opinion poll released on Thursday.
The poll, conducted by the marketing and opinion research firm Datexco, revealed that just 41% of Colombians think the talks will succeed. Meanwhile, 51% believe they will fail.
Polls showed similarly pessimistic expectations among citizens early on in the peace negotiations with the Marxist FARC rebel group when they began in 2012.
In a poll conducted by Datexco in October 2013, also weeks before formal talks began, 57% of Colombians believed that the negotiations with the FARC would not succeed. Another 39% estimated that it would be successful.
After four years of talks and in spite the popular pessimism, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos signed an agreement with the FARC in November, the terms of which are being implemented now.
The government and the ELN issued a joint statement on Wednesday in which they announced that formal peace negotiations between the two sides will begin on February 7, following an exchange of captives on February 2.