Presidential Candidates Clash Over Peace Talks

Posted on Jun 7 2014 - 5:29am by Rico

COLOMBIA NEWS – During a televised debate with his opponent, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expressed his fervent support for the peace talks underway with guerrillas of the FARC-EP and reiterated that negotiations should be conditional.

Santos (right) and Zuluaga during recent television debate

Santos (right) and Zuluaga during recent television debate

During the public debate the two candidates left their standpoints clear regarding the peace talks: Santos called for the end of the conflict, “exchanging the culture of fear for that of hope and peace”, while Zuluaga favoured a “conditional peace.”

Referring to the peace talks, begun a year and half ago, Santos highlighted that a careful and strict process is being carried out and that it has progressed more in the last four years than in the previous more than forty.

“We have overcome three out of five issues, with two left before we can declare the end of the conflict,” he said.

Zuluaga, candidate from the Democratic Centre party, created by former President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), reiterated that peace must be negotiated with conditions and also that if he wins on coming June 15th, he will assess the currents results achieved in the talks.

In the debate, the first of two that will be held before the second round, there were also disagreements on subjects like health, the economic model, employment and justice.

Meanwhile, a poll of the Gallup firm carried out for some newspapers in Colombia, showed a technical tie in the way that those interviewed intended to vote and that the margin between the two candidates is 0.8 percent.

If elections were set for tomorrow, 48.5 of votes would be won by Zuluaga while Santos would win 47.7 votes, with abstentions falling from 15.7 to 3.7 percent.

The poll was carried out between May 31st and June 3rd and 1,200 people registered to vote were surveyed, with 85 percent reliability and three percent margin of error.