Demilitarised, Colombia’s FARC launches its political party

Demilitarised, Colombia’s FARC launches its political party

Amid the recent conclusion of their 53-year guerrilla war against the Colombian state, 1,000 delegates from the former militant group FARC will meet today to form a new political party. After choosing the party’s name, policies, and congressional candidates, FARC will officially launch the party on September 1. Under the terms of the peace deal,

FARC leaders announce the launch of a political party

Photo: AFP/Raul Arboleda

Amid the recent conclusion of their 53-year guerrilla war against the Colombian state, 1,000 delegates from the former militant group FARC will meet today to form a new political party. After choosing the party’s name, policies, and congressional candidates, FARC will officially launch the party on September 1.

Under the terms of the peace deal, most FARC guerrillas will be given amnesty and allowed to stand for the 2018 elections, and FARC will be allocated 10 permanent seats in Colombia’s bicameral 268 member Congress. Standing on the left of Colombia’s political spectrum, FARC will likely push to limit the influence of multinational corporations and implement wealth redistribution, especially to FARC’s poor rural base.

FARC’s potential for electoral success is uncertain; a September poll showed the then-militant group’s popularity at 18% compared to 14% for Colombia’s political parties, but the failure of the initial peace referendum in October triggered significant public animosity towards the group.

But even limited electoral victories would allow the group to exercise power through the ballot instead of the bullet, paving the way for long term peace in Colombia.

Delve deeper: The new Colombia-FARC deal: when peace begets war