Colombia election: Santos to face Zuluaga in run-off

THE AMAZON PINK DOLPHIN’S VOICE

SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras:26/05/2014

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Colombia election: Santos to face Zuluaga in run-off

Electoral personnel count votes at a polling station after presidential elections on May 25, 2014, in Medellin, Antioquia department, ColombiaAbstentionism was particularly high in the presidential election

Colombian ex-finance minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga has won the first round of the presidential election, ahead of incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos.

Both fell far short of the 50% plus one needed to avoid a second round and will now face each other again on 15 June.

The election could decide whether peace talks with Farc rebels will continue.

Mr Santos supports them as the best way to end Colombia’s 50-year-long armed conflict, but Mr Zuluaga prefers a tougher line.

We cannot allow the Farc to attempt to command the country from Havana”

Oscar Ivan ZuluagaPresidential candidate

With almost all of the votes counted, Mr Zuluaga was ahead with 29.25%, followed by Mr Santos with 25.69%.

The other three candidates trailed at least 10 percentage points behind.

The policies of the two leading candidates differ little except for their stance on the peace process with Colombia’s largest left-wing rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

Mr Santos – who initiated the negotiations that formally started 18 months ago in the Cuban capital, Havana – says he hopes to sign a deal with the Farc before the end of the year.

But Mr Zuluaga has been critical of the talks, accusing President Santos of being soft on the rebels.

“We cannot allow the Farc to attempt to command the country from Havana,” he told his supporters.

A president “cannot and should not be manipulated by the Farc”, he said.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos celebrates the result fro the first round in Bogota on 25 May, 2014.
President Santos says he is “going to win with peace”

President Santos said that on 15 June, Colombians would have to choose “between those who want an end to the war and those who prefer a war without end”.

Abstentionism

Conservative candidate Marta Lucia Ramirez came third with 15.52%, and left-winger Clara Lopez was fourth with 15.23%.

Who the losing candidates’ voters now back may well determine the second-round winner, analysts say.

Clara Lopez is a firm supporter of the peace process, while Ms Ramirez has said that she is against an amnesty for Farc rebels and does not want to see “the Farc criminals” becoming legislators.

Colombian presidential candidate for the Alternative Democratic Pole party, Clara Lopez, casts her vote during the presidential election on 25 May, 2014
Clara Lopez won many more votes than opinion polls had predicted

Both President Santos and Mr Zuluaga will also try to galvanise some of the 60% of eligible voters who abstained, the highest rate in the past two decades.

More than 220,000 people are estimated to have died in Colombia’s five-decade-long armed conflict and many Colombians are getting increasingly impatient with the pace of the peace talks.

So far, negotiators have achieved agreement on three key issues: land reform, political participation of the rebels and illicit drugs.

They have yet to discuss disarmament, victims’ rights and the eventual implementation of the peace deal.

Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said it had been “the safest election day in recent history”, helped by the fact that both the Farc, and Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, had declared a temporary ceasefire.

Source: BBC NEWS

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Colombia and Farc rebels agree on drug trade plan

Ivan Marquez and Farc leaders in Cuba
Farc negotiator Ivan Marquez says the agreement includes reparations for victims of coca plantation spraying

Colombia’s government and the Farc, the country’s largest rebel group, have agreed on a plan to deal with the illegal drug trade.

Both parties agreed to eliminate all illicit drug production in Colombia should a final deal be reached.

The Farc, which controls large patches of rural Colombia, is believed to be partly funded by money generated by the illegal drug trade.

This was the third on a six-point peace agenda being negotiated in Cuba.

The civil war in Colombia has killed an estimated 220,000 people in the last five decades.

Last year, government officials and the left-wing Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) agreed on land reform and political participation.

As with previous agreements, details of the programme to combat the drug trade will need to be discussed further by special commissions.

Friday’s agreement marked the end of the last round of the talks initiated by President Juan Manuel Santos, who is seeking a second mandate in next week’s elections.

Earlier, the Farc along with the country’s second largest armed group, ELN, said they would observe a unilateral cease fire for the voting.

Humberto de la Calle (R), the head of the Colombian delegation
Mr de la Calle (R), the head of the Colombian delegation said the deal was a “fundamental step”

At a news conference in the Cuban capital, Havana, the Colombian chief negotiator, former vice-President Humberto de la Calle, said the deal was a “fundamental step” towards peace.

“This way we eliminate the petrol that has fuelled the conflict in Colombia for decades,” he said.

Mr de la Calle also said the rebels committed themselves to severing any ties to drug trafficking.

As part of the deal , both parties also agreed on a programme to clear rural areas of land mines.

The Farc negotiator Ivan Marquez said the left-wing rebels insisted on addressing the consequences of the aerial spraying of coca plantations, including reparations for those affected.

The talks in the Cuban capital, Havana, are the fourth attempt since the 1980s to reach peace.

Previous negotiations failed amid disagreements, mutual recriminations and flare-ups of violence.

The conflict – the longest-running in Latin America – has killed an estimated 220,000 people since it began in the 1960s, with some three million more internally displaced by the fighting.

Source: BBC NEWS

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Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Selvavidasinfronteras.wordpress.com

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer.

 

 

~ by FSVSF Admin on 26 May, 2014.

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