Colombian gov't to resume peace talks with guerrilla group ELN

ElectionsColombia’s elections are also about democracy vs feudalism by Adriaan Alsema

He spent most of his 64 years as a military commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc), plotting the violent overthrow of the country's government.

"These elections will be the most tranquil, the most peaceful that we Colombians have had in a long time, in recent history", Santos said, adding "not a single voting station had to be moved for security reasons".

While all candidates advocate clamping down on corruption and investment in education and health, the two top pollers differ in their views on a peace deal with Marxist FARC rebels.

Even though the Farc has been far behind from what was anticipated, the peace deal assures few seats to be won.

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The eyes of the World are focused on a new Colombia.

The Farc, who kept their acronym when they transformed from an insurgency into a political party, took a meagre 0.33% of the vote.

Duque, a protégé of former President Alvaro Uribe and the standard bearer for the Democratic Center party, beat fellow candidates Marta Lucia Ramirez and Alejandro Ordonez for his coalition's nomination. Many Colombians are furious that the group's leaders are not in jail for the human rights abuses and kidnapping campaign they oversaw during the civil war. "Many are furious that people with blood on their hands can run for elections". Colombians vote in the first round on May 27 with a likely runoff in June.

Results of Sunday's vote, however, show that many still disagree with the terms of the 2016 peace deal.

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Its transition to a political party that contested Sunday's legislative elections is something of a triumph for the 66-year-old president, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. "That said, the uncertainty surrounding the future of the peace agreement could be enough to moderate any recovery in financial markets if Duque's rise in the polls continues in the coming weeks", analysts said. The peace deal failed in a referendum, but eventually passed through Congress.

"We are in a different phase now", said Jenny, a former Farc fighter, from a camp in Colombia's eastern plains where she lives with other ex-combatants.

Known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, Londono had been the FARC's bet to replace President Juan Manuel Santos when the latter leaves office in August, but heart surgery on Wednesday has put him out of the race.

Santos, who cast his vote near the presidential headquarters in Bogota just past 8 a.m., also celebrated the FARC's participation in the electoral process.

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