, ,

FARC Calls for Election Delay in Colombia Talks

(AP) Talks on ending Colombia’s protracted civil conflict resumed Tuesday with a surprising proposal from the country’s largest rebel group: postpone next year’s elections.

Ivan Marquez, Jesus Santrich, Pablo Catatumbo, Ricardo Tellez,A top commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said a delay would help keep political campaigning from jeopardizing the peace process.

“Let us open a national debate about the urgency and propriety of postponing the electoral calendar for a year,” said Ivan Marquez, whose birth name is Luciano Marin Arango and who is head of the guerrilla delegation.

He proposed that the delay affect political offices from mayors up to the presidency; that presidential re-election be disallowed; and that both the electoral changes and whatever peace agreement is reached be submitted to a constituent assembly for ratification.

The leader of President Juan Manuel Santos’ delegation to the talks threw cold water on the proposal.
Cuba Peace Talks.JPEG

“We should not distract ourselves with proposals that contribute little to clarity, as is happening with the supposed prolongation of elected terms,” Humberto de la Calle said, referring to the one-year extension of existing terms that would be required by such a delay. “That doesn’t work; a constituent (assembly) doesn’t work.”

Santos, who has hinted he will seek a second term in the May 2014 vote, also rejected the idea.

“There is not even the most minimal chance I would consider that proposal to extend terms,” he told Colombia’s Caracol radio from Jerusalem, where he is on an official visit this week. “That is completely ruled out.”

Peace talks have been taking place since late last year in the Cuban capital.

They went into recess 2 1/2 weeks ago after the two sides reached a partial agreement on agrarian reform, an underlying cause of the conflict and the first of six points up for discussion.

Negotiations turn now to item No. 2, the incorporation of the guerrillas into Colombian politics.

Formed in the early 1960s, the FARC is the oldest active guerrilla army in the Americas, currently with an estimated 9,000 members.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Today Colombia than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our site as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Updating reports on Today Colombia takes a lot of time, money and hard work. But we do it because we believe our reports matter.
If everyone who reads Today Colombia, who likes it, helps to support it by clicking our ads, our future would be much more secure. Do you part, click on an ad today.

Written by Rico

Rico

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of onlinemagazines that includes TodayColombia.com. Rico brings his special kind of savvy to online marketing. His websites are engaging, provocative, informative and sometimes off the wall, where you either like or you leave it. The same goes for him, like him or leave him.There is no middle ground. No compromises, only a passion to present reality as he sees it!