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Most Colombians Reject Santos-FARC Peace Deal, Survey Finds

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Aug 8, 2016, 4:19 pm
If Yes does not win in the plebiscite, the Santos-FARC agreements may not be included in the Colombian legal system (YouTube)
If yes does not win in the referendum, the Santos-FARC agreements may not be included in the Colombian legal system (YouTube).

EspañolMost Colombians are unhappy with the government’s peace agreement with the FARC guerillas, according to a survey by the Ipsos Napoleon Franco company.

Fifty percent of Colombians said they would vote no on the referendum when asked whether they agree with the conclusion to the Havana peace talks between the government and FARC.

Those who said they would yes amounted to 39 percent of voters, meaning that it would be necessary to renegotiate the agreements or simply terminate the process altogether, as Colombia’s constitutional court has said the accord could not be included in Colombian constitutional law without a vote for of support from the people.

However, some say that if no wins, President Juan Manuel Santos could continue the process as one of his constitutional powers to search for peace at all costs, which doesn’t legally need a referendum.

President Santos also faces low approval ratings. It fell by five points from last month, to 23 percent.

Yet many have expressed their surprise at the low support for the peace process. There is a great deal of pessimism about what will happen in Havana between the government and FARC, since only 63 percent of Colombians think the agreements will come to fruition and force the guerrillas to demobilize.

Between June and early August, the number of those who would vote no rose from 39 to 50 percent, while those who said they would vote yes fell from 56 percent to 39 percent.

Some have suggested people associate the president’s management of the country with the peace process. Because most people disagree with the way Santos handles other policy matters, they by default also disagree with his peace effort.

Support for NO could also be rooted in the involvement of former President and Senator Alvaro Uribe Velez, who has been one of the strongest opponents of the peace process. Besides him, Senators Ivan Duque and Jose Obdulio Gaviria, highly regarded in the country, have spoken out against the peace effort.

Additionally, the campaign itself is very slow and fragmented. The parties that support yes have disagreed publicly. Officials in the Conservative Party is still unsure whether or not it will support the referendum.

The elections on the referendum for peace will convene once the final agreement between the government and FARC is final, and requires the participation of at least 13 percent of Colombians to be considered legitimate. Failure to achieve this percentage or the success of No will result in renegotiations or the end of the process.

For the full survey in Spanish, click here

Source: Revista Semana

Julián Villabona Galarza Julián Villabona Galarza

Julián is a reporter with the PanAm Post with studies in Politics and International Relations from the University Sergio Arboleda in Colombia. Follow him: @julianvillabona.

Will Establishment Republicans Dump Trump and Back Gary Johnson?

By: Amanda Blohm - Aug 8, 2016, 2:14 pm
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The “Never Trump” Movement and other disaffected Republicans reportedly believe this will be the week that George Bush Sr, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney as well as other mainstream Republicans endorse Libertarian Gary Johnson and running-mate William Weld, according to The Santa Monica Observer. Gary Johnson has already received his first real Congressional backer, Virginia Representative Scott Rigell. Jeb Bush has already claimed to be part of the “Never Trump” movement. The former Republican Governor of Florida released a statement on his Facebook page in May in which he addressed the issues that concerned him regarding a potential Trump presidency and how he will not vote for either Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton. Instead, he said he “will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels.” “For Republicans, there is no greater priority than ensuring we keep control of both chambers of Congress,” he said. Read more: Libertarians on Prime Time: Johnson and Weld to appear again on CNN Town Hall Read more: Gary Johnson takes on "Narrow Dialogue" with new team in tow. Bush’s father and brother had announced they would not be supporting Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump. Both George Sr. and and George W. Bush chose not to attend the GOP convention this year. Many other high-profile Republicans made the same decision. George W. Bush's former aide, Lezlee Westine, has just announced she will not be supporting Donald Trump, but will instead opt to endorse Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Jeb Bush’s top advisor Sally Bradshaw told CNN she would be leaving the Republican Party over Trump and will vote for Clinton in Florida if the race is close. Longtime aide to New Jersey governor Chris Christie Maria Comella also told CNN said she was planning on voting for Hillary Clinton. // Governor Chris Christie seems to be getting more and more nervous regarding his endorsement as Donald Trump caused even more controversy this past week, receiving several warnings from party members to get it together. Just this past week, Trump picked a fight with the parents of slain American soldier Captain Humayun Khan and nearly kicked out a screaming baby at a rally in Virginia, not to mention alienating the Republican party’s top-ranking official House Speaker Paul Ryan. Which is why the “Never Trumps” have even founded a movement, called “Republicans for Johnson-Weld. "It is movements such as this one and Trump’s alienating and disrespectful behavior toward other members of his own party that could make many more jump ship. If Trump’s reluctance to endorse candidates such as Senator John McCain, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte and Paul Ryan pushes them over the edge, and more party separation continues, it could lead to their support for the Libertarian candidate and thus a huge increase in Johnson’s now 10-percent approval rating. Johnson hopes to get to at least the 15 percent that is needed to participate in the national debate to be held this fall. He believes that, were he to be able to stand up to both candidates in the debate, winning the election as a third party candidate could be a real possibility. As mentioned previously, the more likely politicians to support Johnson would be George Bush Sr. and Jeb Bush, as well as former presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney, however, is a bit more complicated. The former governor of Massachusetts is a huge supporter of William Weld’s. However, Romney disagrees in many things that Johnson stands for, particularly his stance on women’s right to choose and marijuana. Regardless, there is a chance many Republicans will be more willing to support a different candidate. Sources: Santa Monica Observer, CNN, The Washington Post.

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