Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday said that agreements achieved in the peace process with the country’s largest rebel group FARC, could be “popularly approved” but not through a “constituent assembly.”
Santos said that the results of the peace process would have to be popularly decided through “mechanisms of a referendum,” but rejected the FARC’s demand for a constituent assembly to decide the fate of the ongoing peace process.
“It is very possible [that we] can be able to [figure out] a formula to popularly approve [an] agreement and this is open for discussion…since the beginning, we have been very clear that a constituent assembly will not be the final results of the agreements,” said the president.
“This has to be a serious dialogue, a discreet dialogue…All the points on the agenda [that] will be subjects of decisions [and] discussions, must be maintained in confidentiality,” said Santos.
The president urged FARC not to “negotiate through microphones, because this has been one of the reasons earlier dialogues have broken down.”
Article 103 of the Colombian constitution establishes the mechanisms of “popular participation,” among which are “popular election,” a “referendum” and “popular consultation.”
The ex-magistrate of Colombia’s Constitutional Court, Alfredo Beltran, said there would be a great difference between these mechanisms and a constituent assembly because the latter implied changing the Colombian constitution and could be used to change the organization of the Colombian state.