Colombia’s opposition on Tuesday saved the FARC from being kicked out of Congress after the government tried to amend the bill that guarantees the former rebels’ participation in politics as part of an ongoing peace process.
One of the first legislative projects delivered by the government of President Ivan Duque in Congress had suspiciously removed a key piece of text that legislates for former guerrillas or paramilitaries’ participation in politics.
Article 122 of the Political Constitution was amended in 2017 to facilitate the FARC’s entry into Congress.
The article states that those who have signed an agreement with the State to end the conflict and have not returned to commit a crime, among other precise conditions, are eligible to become public servants or elected officials.
After the so-called rider was spotted by House Representative Juanita Goebertus of the independent Green Alliance party, the Duque administration was forced to amend it.
“The Duque government would be eliminating the incorporation of ex-combatants. The question is whether it is an oversight or a rider,” said the legislator who took part in the peace talks with the FARC.
In response to the challenge by Goebertus, Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez confirmed that she would amend the bill to secure the FARC’s future in politics, reported W Radio.
The governement claimed that the purpose of this legislation is to bring about a transparency that would see officials publicly present their annual income tax return.
The Marxist-inspired rebels signed a historic peace deal with the government of former President Juan Manuel Santos in 2016 to bring an end to more than half-century-long conflict between the former guerrillas and the State.
The deal guaranteed the former combatants 10 seats in Congress to facilitate the Marxists’ transition from armed to political opposition in Colombia.
All eyes are now on Duque to see how he progresses with the implementation of the agreement he and his party have opposed and tried to derail for years.