Colombia’s State Council on Tuesday allowed the Patriotic Union (UP), a communist party that saw thousands of its members assassinated, to take part in next year’s elections.
The State Council annulled a 2002 decision by the National Electoral Council to revoke the party’s license after the mass assassination of party members by the military and paramilitary groups in the 1980s and 1990s let the communists without the sufficient support to take part in elections.
According to State Council President Alfonso Vargas, the electoral council overstepped its boundaries banning the party, saying it failed to recognize the communists had been the victim of political genocide.
The State Council ruled that “the UP party at that time was facing a serious survival crisis due to the extermination its leaders, activists and candidates.”
The ruling allows survivors of the genocide to take part in the 2014 elections.
The Patriotic Union was formed in the mid 1980s by communist politicians with support of the political wing of rebel group FARC that, as part of peace talks with the government, sought inclusion into Colombian politics while maintaining its military offensive against the state. Right-wing paramilitary groups, together with members of the military, subsequently assassinated two presidential candidates, eight congressmen, 70 councilmen, dozens of elected deputies and elected mayors and at least 2,000 of the party’s members and sympathizers.