Colombia’s new president calls for less division; might roll-back peace deal

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COLOMBIA-ELECTION-RUNOFF-AFTERMATHA man reads a local newspaper in Bogota, on June 18, 2018 a day after conservative Ivan Duque won Colombia’s runoff election. Duque won the presidential election on June 17 after a campaign that turned into a referendum on a landmark 2016 peace deal with FARC rebels that he pledged to overhaul. (AFP PHOTO / Diana SANCHEZ)

After a divisive election campaign, Colombia’s President-elect, Ivan Duque, calls for unity.

The opposition warns Duque not to roll-back the FARC peace deal. CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogota.

After a bitterly fought presidential campaign, Colombia has a new president. The winner, Ivan Duque, spoke of uniting the country in his televised acceptance speech. “I want to be the President that gives the same love to those who voted for me and those who didn’t,” said the president-elect.

Duque won Sunday’s election with 54 percent of the votes against Petros’ 42 percent. During the campaign, Duque promised to modify the fragile peace accord signed with the demobilized FARC guerillas in 2016.

A relative newcomer in national politics, Duque was backed by former President Alvaro Uribe Velez, a staunch opponent of the peace talks and final accord. Critics said that Duque could prove to be a Uribe puppet. An accusation Duque has denied.

His leftist rival, Gustavo Petro, admitted defeat on Sunday but confirmed he would continue to oppose any effort to roll back the peace accord. “We, the eight million Colombians [who voted], are not going to let them take us back towards war,” said Petro.

Duque promised to impose tougher penalties for crimes allegedly committed by the FARC during their five decades of armed conflict with the government.

FARC leader Rodrigo Londono still congratulated Ivan Duque for the win and called for common sense moving forward. “The FARC expresses its willingness to meet with the president-elect to present his views on the implementation of the peace agreement,” said Londono.

When Duque takes office on August 7th, he will become the second youngest president in Colombia’s history.


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