The path towards strengthening peace in Colombia
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (L) and the head of the FARC guerrilla Timoleon Jimenez, aka Timochenko, made peace in 2016, but implementation is slow and the agreement is at risk. Foto: Luis Ruiz Tito/Presidencia República Dominicana.

Tekst:

Yenny Leguizamón Orjuela

Publisert: 21.03.2018    Redigert: 22.03.2018

Last weekend, on March 11, the first elections without armed actions took place in Colombia. This historical election is the result of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the ex-FARC-guerrilla as well as of the unilateral ceasefire on part of the ELN guerrilla.

The election strengthened the parties that are against the peace agreement and who are against the current peace dialogue with the ELN.

These parties obtained 50.6% of the seats in Congress. Centro Democrático, a right-wing party got most of the votes. Their candidate Iván Duque will run for President in May.

 The parties supporting the peace agreement gained 31.9% of the seats in congress.

The FARC party, participating in the elections for the first time as a political party, obtained 3.8% of the seats. Nevertheless, without achieving the minimum number of votes necessary to elect any additional representative.

Even though the political map is unfavorable to peace interests, it is important to point out that, compared to the previous elections, alternative parties in some cases doubled their seats while in others they maintained their number, and that representatives of victims, of indigenous peoples, of marginalized urban sectors and new faces, were elected. This suggests that somehow the voters are seeking a renovation of the Congress of the Republic.

In addition, the parties and candidates that opposed the rights of women and of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) population did not achieve enough votes to introduce candidates to Congress. Nor did religious parties.

This overview indicates that to continue the process of implementing the peace agreement, it would be appropriate to form alliances of the parties in favor of the peace agreement, of negotiations with the ELN and of the defense of human rights, not only to legislate in Congress but also taking into consideration the presidential elections in May 2018.

As in the 2014 elections, women still represent 20% of the total seats in Congress, or 56 of 279 seats. Hence, we should continue working for the empowerment of women and their participation in politics, and to work towards the transformation of the patriarchal political culture which underestimates the political performance of women.

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