A legal suit was filed with a central Colombian court Wednesday that would mandate the winner of Colombia’s upcoming presidential elections to continue ongoing peace talks with the FARC rebel group, the country’s oldest.
The suit, submitted to the Administrative Court of the central state of Cudinamarca by constitutional lawyer German Calderon just five days before Colombians take to the polls for the first of what is expected to be a two-round presidential election, claims peace as a constitutional right of all Colombians.
Peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC have been ongoing since 2012 and recently announced an agreement on the third of a six-point negotiation agenda. Questions remain, however, as to the talks’ future prospects depending on the outcome of Sunday’s election.
Incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos, currently running for re-election, has put the talks at the forefront of his campaign, but other challenges in the field have been less enthusiastic about the peace process.
The president’s main opponent, Democratic Center (Centro Democratico- CD) candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, has on multiple occasions requested that Santos withdraw from peace talks and has been a staunch critic of the peace process since its inception. His election, it is believed, would mean the end of negotiations.
Now it will fall to Judge Amparo Oviedo Pinto to decide if that sort of opposition is even constitutional. The “writ of protection” being brought before his court is an emergency legal measure to guarantee the constitutional rights of citizens.
The plaintiff is arguing that the Constitution “promises to protect and comply with peace and peace processes, hence no candidate can ignore that duty.”
If approved, the writ would be binding for all five current presidential candidates, three of which have expressed support for the talks, anyway. All candidates are to be satellite linked to the trial from their respective campaign headquarters, according to Caracol Radio.
The decision can be appealed to higher courts in the event that it is favorable to the plaintiff.