Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, said Saturday that President Juan Manuel Santos “has every right” to seek reelection in 2014 when the country elects a new president.
The group is currently involved in peace talks with delegates from the Santos administration to seek a negotiated end to Colombia’s nearly 50-year-old conflict.
The FARC’s mild response to Santos’ apparent preparations to launch his candidacy is rather different that before the 2010 elections when the rebel group warned Santos would be a “new paramilitary ruler.”
However, three years ahead and in the middle of highly0anticipated peace talks, FARC negotiator “Rodrigo Granda” said “the constitution, amended with a little article [in 2004] for the reelection of Uribe [in 2006], allows him to be reelected, and he has every right,” the rebel leader told press Saturday at the group’s daily meeting with press.
Granda stress the ongoing peace process should not cause conflict with the pending election race.
“It would be a great opportunity that the electoral campaign begins and independently the peace process continues, successfully or not,” the rebel added.
On Friday, Santos surprised friends and enemies by announcing the formation of a team to secure the “reelection of the peace policies” while he vowed up respect all electoral laws that could impede him from taking part in the elections.
While the president failed to explicitly announce his candidacy, his actions leave little doubt about the president to run again in 2014.
Several Colombian media have speculated that the FARC and the government within weeks will announce an accord on agrarian reform in Colombia — the first point on the peace talks agenda. Once the warring parties have agreement on this, the negotiators will move on the point of political participation of the FARC, necessary for the rebel group — determined a terrorist organization by Colombia, the United States and Europe — to take part in the 2014 electoral race.