New Colombian Peace Deal to Be Signed in Cuba
Published 12 November 2016
The new deal is not expected to be put to a plebiscite but instead will be put to a vote in the congress.
A new peace deal between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government of Juan Manuel Santos will be signed Saturday in Havana, Cuba, marking the latest step in an effort to finally end over five decades of armed conflict in the country.
The text of the new deal is expected to largely reflect the previous agreement, which was rejected by a narrow margin by Colombians in a vote Oct. 2, but also include a number of modifications to reflect the views of those who advocated against the deal.
Opponents of the first deal submitted 410 proposals, although many of their suggestions are expected to be included to ensure the new deal is approved, Santos signaled that some of the demands from the staunchest corners of the “No” campaign were not viable.
Ultimately the content of the new deal — like the previous deal — was decided by the negotiating teams, as the peace process protocol dictates that decisions can only be made between the parties at the table.
President Santos had ordered his negotiating team a number of weeks ago to “work without interruption” to finalize a deal as soon as possible. Critics of the president suggested he was rushing the process in order to have a deal in hand by Dec. 10, when he will travel to Stockholm to collect his Nobel Peace Prize.
Unlike the last deal, the new deal is not expected to be put to a plebiscite. Santos has repeatedly suggested that the deal will be sent straight to congress in order to avoid sowing further division.
“We are drafting a new agreement and when it is ready, I have several options. The Constitutional Court determined that I could call for a fresh referendum without the approval of the Congress. Those who backed the 'No' do not want that because, after everything that has happened, there is going to be an immense majority in favor. But I believe I should opt for the path that is least divisive,” Santos said in an interview with EFE last month.
The new deal is expected to clear all legislative hurdles before the end of 2016. The bilateral cease-fire, which Santos described as “fragile,” is set to expire at the end of the calendar year.
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