Colombia’s conservative opposition, led by former President Alvaro Uribe, will promote a “No” vote in an upcoming plebiscite to ratify a pending peace deal with the FARC, senators of his party said Tuesday.
The Democratic Center (CD), the only political party in Colombia opposing the deal has been deliberating for weeks what its most viable option is to oppose the ratification of a deal with the FARC.
The Colombian people will ask to vote either “Yes” or “No” to the deal that has been negotiated by the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos for more than four years.
The Constitutional Court last week ruled that the winning vote only needs to obtain the approval of a minimum of 13% of the electorate amid fears that traditionally low turnouts in elections could render the plebiscite invalid.
While initially promoting a “No” vote, the Democratic Center recently made public it might instead promote abstention, hoping this would increase their chances to prevent the ratification of the deal.
The Santos coalition and the leftist opposition have both put themselves behind a “Yes” vote, hoping the pending peace deal with the country’s oldest rebel group would end more than half a century of armed conflict between the state and the FARC.
However, the CD has consistently rejected the talks and opposes a peace deal because it will allow the far-left FARC members to take part in politics while granting them judicial leniency from crimes committed during the war.
CD-chief Uribe, who between 2002 and 2010 led a US-backed military campaign that pushed the FARC away from the cities, highways and economically important areas, will officially announce his party’s strategy on Sunday.
But members of his party told reporters that the decision to promote a no vote has already been taken and that the CD will try to outnumber the “Yes” votes.
When the plebiscite is held depends on when the government and the FARC are able to put their signatures under a final peace deal.
The Constitutional Court did give the government a four-month deadline for the vote.