BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The latest on Colombia’s referendum on an agreement to end a half-century of armed conflict (all times local):
Colombia’s powerful former President Alvaro Uribe is calling for a “big national pact” in the wake of a stunning referendum defeat of the government’s peace deal with leftist rebels.
Uribe led the campaign opposing the accord and says he will insist on revising the deal to guarantee there is justice for victims of the guerrillas.
He has not said specifically whether he will accept President Juan Manuel Santos’ invitation to a Monday meeting with opponents of the accord.
Santos served as Uribe’s defense minister but the two haven’t spoken for years and the former president has long rebuffed any attempts to help the government reach a deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Colombia’s president says he will consult with the opposition and leaders of the country’s largest rebel movement following a shock defeat of a peace accord in a nationwide referendum Sunday.
In a much-anticipated televised address, President Juan Manuel Santos said he will leave in place a cease-fire with the rebels while trying to save the peace accord. He says the accord represents the best option for Colombia to put behind it more than a half century of hostilities with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Santos also said he has ordered government negotiators to return to Cuba on Monday to consult with leaders of the FARC.
The president says: “I won’t give up. I’ll continue search for peace until the last moment of my mandate.”
The leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is reiterating the rebel group’s willingness to continue working toward peace following what appears to be a national referendum’s shocking rejection of its accord with the government.
Speaking to journalists in Havana after Sunday’s referendum results, the FARC leader known widely by his nom de guerre Timochenko referred to the FARC as a political movement instead of a rebel army.
He says he regrets that what he calls “the destructive power of those who sow hatred and rancor have influenced the opinion of the Colombian population.” He says the FARC will keep working to build a stable peace.
In his words, “Peace will triumph.”
Colombian voters appear to have rejected a peace deal with the FARC rebels by a razor-thin margin in Sunday’s national referendum, delivering a major shock to the war-torn country.
The government has yet to concede defeat. But with almost all votes counted, the results look irreversible.
With more than 99 percent of voting stations reporting, those opposing the deal lead with 50.2 percent, compared to 49.8 percent for those backing the deal — a difference of less than 59,000 votes out of 13 million counted.
President Juan Manuel Santos and not commented yet but is expected to address the nation Sunday night.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC rebel movement are keeping quiet so far following what looks like a shock defeat of their peace deal in a national referendum Sunday.
FARC leader Ivan Marquez, reached by Caracol TV in Havana, declined to comment, saying consultations are underway before the rebel movement would make a pronouncement.
Santos has also been mum. Instead of showing up for what had been expected to be a celebration with supporters, he called his closest aides and government negotiators to an emergency meeting at the presidential palace.
Opponent of the accord have urged the government to reopen negotiations if it were to lose the referendum. But Santos earlier had ruled out that option, while the FARC had been adamant that the deal reached during four years of talks in Cuba was the best one possible for Colombia.
The “no” vote has taken the lead in ballot counting for Colombia’s national referendum that will decide whether to accept or reject the government’s peace accord with the FARC rebel movement for ending a half-century conflict.
With 91 percent of voting stations reporting, 50.1 percent of ballots oppose the deal, compared to 49.9 percent in support. The difference is just 24,000 votes.
Opinion polls before Sunday’s referendum had predicted an easy victory for the “yes” side in the referendum called by Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos.
Half the vote has been counted in Colombia’s referendum, and the contest over ratifying the government’s peace deal with the biggest rebel group is a razor-thin margin that defies expectations.
With 50 percent of polling stations reporting, 50.1 percent of ballots are in favor of the accord while 49.9 percent oppose it. The margin is 10,862 votes.
Opinion polls taken before Sunday’s referendum had pointed to the “yes” vote winning by an almost two-to-one margin.
For the peace accord to be accepted, the “yes” vote needs to win a majority of the ballots cast as well as represent at least 13 percent of the electorate, or about 4.5 million votes.
Early results in Colombia’s national referendum show a tighter-than-expected vote over whether to endorse or reject the government’s peace accord with the South American nation’s biggest rebel movement.
With 15 percent of polling stations reporting results, 51 percent of ballots are in favor of the accord while 49 percent oppose it.
To pass, the “yes” vote needs to win a majority of the ballots case Sunday as well as represent at least 13 percent of the electorate, or about 4.5 million votes.
Polls have just closed in Colombia’s national referendum on a peace deal with leftist rebels. Now the wait for results begins.
A few governors and lawmakers had been hoping to extend Sunday’s voting by two hours to accommodate those who stayed home amid heavy rainfall caused by Hurricane Matthew along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. But electoral authorities rejected the proposal.
Authorities say early results should be available within an hour of polls closing.
Heavy rains resulting from Hurricane Matthew are delaying the opening of some polling stations in rural parts of Colombia as the country votes on whether to ratify a peace deal between the government and rebels.
The Interior Ministry says 82 voting booths in La Guajira peninsula, the area hardest hit by Matthew, didn’t open as scheduled due to logistical problems triggered by flooding and bad weather.
President Juan Manuel Santos is urging Colombians to look for inspiration from Indian independence leader Gandhi, who was born 147 years ago Sunday, as they cast ballots on a deal to end the country’s long civil conflict.
“We in Colombia have to adopt this culture of non-violence,” Santos told reporters after casting his ballot Sunday in Plaza Bolivar next to the presidential palace.
Santos said that heavy rainfall and bad weather as a result of hurricane Matthew shouldn’t be an obstacle to heading to the polls.
“All of us can be protagonists in this historic change taking place in our nation,” he said.
Polls have opened in Colombia’s referendum where voters will be asked whether to endorse or reject a historic peace deal with the country’s largest rebel movement.
Authorities are urging Colombians to vote early, though heavy rainfall from the offshore passage of Hurricane Matthew is expected to dampen turnout.
In Plaza Bolivar, where President Juan Manuel Santos is voting, there were long lines of voters standing with umbrellas waiting to cast ballots.
At least 13 percent of the electorate, or around 4.5 million voters, must ratify the accord signed Sept 26 in order for implementation to begin. Polls show the “yes” vote favored by an almost two-to-one margin.