Colombia Constitutional Court Approves Plebiscite on Peace Deal

In the June cease-fire agreement, both the FARC and the Colombian government committed to go along with the ruling of the Constitutional Court.
Colombia's Constitutional Court approved Monday the proposal to use a plebiscite to submit the peace accord between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government to popular approval.

In the bilateral cease-fire agreement signed June 23 by the FARC and the Santos administration, both parties committed to going along with the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

The conservative government of Juan Manuel Santos now has to call for a plebiscite within a month.

The peace deal will be formally approved if a minimum of 4 million people vote in favor of it, out of a voting population of about 30 million.

Although the FARC argued that the final peace deal should be seen as an extension of the constitution and protected as such, the Santos government and Congress voted for a plebiscite.

Santos welcomed the court's decision at a press conference Monday night, encouraging the population to approve the peace agreement, explaining that he will formally issue the call for the plebiscite "when everything is agreed upon."

The FARC proposed a national constituent assembly instead, which would work to reach agreement on topics that were not resolved at the negotiating table, and would be designed to guarantee the participation of groups that have been historically marginalized in Colombia, such as campesinos, Afro-Colombians, Indigenous peoples and women.

The rebel group is concerned that a plebiscite would exclude these groups yet again.



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