FARC Rebels Reject Plebiscite Proposal to Finalize Colombian Peace Deal
Top Story — Colombian rebel group FARC rejected proposed legislation on Monday that would put a final peace agreement with the government up for popular vote, stalling progress in the peace negotiations in Havana ahead of an agreed-upon March 23 deadline to conclude talks.
Members of the Colombian government and the guerrilla group have debated the terms of a peace agreement for the past three years, hoping to end the country’s 51-year civil war, which has claimed 220,000 lives and displaced millions. The two groups have established the March 23 deadline to reach a final peace plan, but friction continues over how exactly the Colombian population should weigh in.
The congressional proposal, which President Juan Manuel Santos and his government endorse, would create a plebiscite for the agreement’s final approval. FARC rebels are pushing instead for a national constituent assembly to mediate the final voting process, with both sides deciding on voting terms at the peace talks. The government rejects the idea of a constituent assembly, and expects that Congress will ratify the plebiscite legislation by Dec. 16 in spite of disapproval from the FARC.
While prior disagreements between both parties have reached resolution through the peace talks, the process has met recurring obstacles over the past three years, fueled by continued violence and ideological differences.
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