Colombia vote result could dent leftist's presidency bid, pleasing market


This is the first time the FARC- previously known as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and now known as Revolutionary Alternative Common Force, preserving their FARC initials- appears on a ballot and comes after thousands of members handed in their weapons under the deal signed with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos in 2016, which ended more than 52 years of war.

After disbanding a year ago, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) converted to a political party with the same initials.

As Colombia adjusts to the end of Latin America's longest-running armed conflict, the FARC is pitching its defense of the poor and other proposals to a traditionally conservative electorate, divided between those who accept its new role in politics and those who demand its leaders go to jail.

The Farc, who kept their acronym when they transformed from an insurgency into a political party, took a meagre 0.33% of the vote.

The report notes that the Democratic Center has the best chance to build a functioning coalition in Congress, given that the party secured the largest number of seats, and right-wing parties secured a total of about two-thirds of the seats.

"For many people it is hard to swallow Farc leaders campaigning on the streets", said Kristian Herbolzheimer, a Colombia specialist at Conciliation Resources, a London-based consultancy. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round will be held in June.

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"On the Farc's side, these elections are a reality check", said Herbolzheimer, adding that the Farc will unlikely be tempted to return to the jungle.

Results of Sunday's vote, however, show that many still disagree with the terms of the 2016 peace deal. "That said, the uncertainty surrounding the future of the peace agreement could be enough to moderate any recovery in financial markets if Duque's rise in the polls continues in the coming weeks", analysts said.

Marquez said the group was open to backing a presidential candidate from a different party if that person supports the peace deal. Both candidates have vowed to implement the peace deal.

President Juan Manuel Santos said that he already instructed the head of the negotiating team, Gustavo Bell, to travel to Quito, Ecuador, to resume talks.

Sunday's primaries - in which Duque won nearly 42 percent more votes than Petro did - were considered a better test of voter support than often inaccurate opinion polls, although some voters will have participated strategically and may not back either victor in the presidential vote.