Colombians stun govt, say no to peace deal with FARC rebels
'It is absurd to reward those criminals, drug traffickers and killers who have made the country a disaster for the past 50 years.' said Jose Gomez, 70, who voted 'no'. In photo: 'No' voters celebrate after the results are declared. Photograph: (AFP)
Colombians on Sunday voted "no" to the peace deal between the government and the FARC insurgent group.
President Juan Manuel Santos, who has led the effort to end the 51-year conflict, said he would continue working for peace despite the vote.
"The majority has said 'No,' but "I will not give in, and I will continue to seek peace to the last day of my term," he said after the vote.
Electoral officials said the "no'' voters won by a half percentage point with 57,000 votes.
Despite the disappointing outcome, FARC says it will continue with peace efforts.
FARC chief Rodrigo Londono said, "The FARC deeply deplores that the destructive power of those who sow hate has influenced opinion."
The chief also stressed on dialogue and said it was the "only weapon for building the future," AFP reported.
Before the referendum, polls conducted by Datexco and Ipsos Napoleon Franco had indicated that the "yes" voters would win.
Colombians have not forgiven the atrocities -- kidnappings, threat to life, and an illegal trade -- committed by the rebels, said Reuters.
The conflict left 260,000 dead and around seven million displaced.
Jose Gomez, 70, who voted "no" said "It is absurd to reward those criminals, drug traffickers and killers who have made the country a disaster for the past 50 years."
(WION with inputs from agencies)