Inside Story

Colombia election: Referendum on peace?

Presidential run-off is seen as a test of appetite for negotiating with leftist rebels.

Last updated: 16 Jun 2014 19:11
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Juan Manuel Santos is celebrating his re-election as president of Colombia, and what he calls a new beginning for the South American country.

Santos won Sunday’s presidential run-off, in which the incumbent and challenger campaigned for peace with Marxist rebels.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has waged a decades long uprising against successive Colombian governments.

There is huge public support to end the conflict. But some have criticised Santos as a traitor for selling out to the rebels, while others have branded his right-wing rival, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, a warmonger, who wanted strict conditions imposed on the peace talks.

Santos sealed his second term in office with 51 percent of the vote, seeing off his challenger who won 45 per cent.

Giving his victory speech to supporters, he said: "Today's message is also for the FARC and the ELN and the message is clear. This is the end of more than 50 years of violence in our country and the start of a new Colombia with more liberty and more social justice, a Colombia in peace."

But can Santos deliver on his election ambitions? And after so many failed attempts, is peace even possible with FARC rebels?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan


Virginia Bouvier - a senior programme officer for Latin America at the United States Institute of Peace.

Christian Voelkel - a Colombian analyst with the International Crisis Group.

Eric Farnsworth - vice president of the Council of the Americas.


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