In an interview with the newspaper El Pais de España, the government’s chief negotiator with the FARC guerrillas, Humberto de la Calle, said that a coalition is needed to safeguard progress in the peace process, since there is a fear that power will fall into the hands of the opposition and impede the implementation of the peace agreement negotiated with the rebel group.
De la Calle acknowledges that the FARC is a very unpopular organization, a fact that is reflected in various public opinion surveys, so the risk of an opposition government taking power in Colombia remains very high. Thus, De la Calle is calling upon a broad coalition across party lines to seek to unite the votes of those who support the peace process so that the Santos government’s legacy can continue.
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Colombian Government Seeks Coalition
“We must recognize that the FARC is a very unpopular organization. The Colombians have insisted on the need for imprisonment for the top officials and there is a great resistance to the political participation of those responsible for the serious crimes committed by the FARC. It is a fact and you have to understand it,” said De la Calle in El País.
Humberto de la Calle is a leading contender for the nomination of the Liberal Party in the 2018 presidential elections. Following the agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, he has reappeared in public and political life and has obtained sufficient followers to be considered one of the top candidates thus far.
Other top candidates include German Vargas Lleras, who is running with the implicit support of current president Juan Manuel Santos, as well as Oscar Ivan Zuluaga of the Democratic Center, who Santos narrowly defeated in 2014. On the left, the Polo Democratico party has nominated Jorge Robledo, although the party is beset by an internal power struggle over the fairness of the nominating process.
The proposal of Humberto de la Calle, coincides with that of the head of the FARC, known as Timochenko, who proposed that there be a transitional government so as not to jeopardize the success of the peace agreement, and in order to elect a candidate who is in favor of what occurred in Havana, and the government’s current implementation strategy.
Source: El País