Colombia readies for referendum to approve peace deal with FARC

Bogot? - Bogota, ColombiaUpdated: Oct 02, 2016, 03:31 AM IST

The plebiscite will either approve or reject the peace deal between the Colombian government and the FARC. Photograph:(AFP)

Colombians are set to vote today to finalise or reject the peace deal between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels. 

Juan Carlos Galindo, head of Colombia's national registry, said on Friday, "The activities to distribute the electoral materials are under way with total normality, and the electoral kits have been distributed without any inconvenience."

"We offer calm, the process is advancing on schedule. And so I can tell all Colombians that everything is under control, and we are basically ready with the preparations for the plebiscite process on October 2," Galindo had said. 

According to polls, a positive outcome is expected, the deal is likely to be approved. If the vote is successful, under the terms of the peace deal, the rebels will have to disarm and become a political party, Reuters reported. 

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said "I hope that when the contest ends tomorrow, we will all be able to say anew that democracy is functioning, and functioning well, and that the result, whatever it may be, will be embraced by all Colombians, 'we embrace it, we accept it.' And I hope we will be able to work together in building this peace because what can happen tomorrow is we can put an end to a war, silence the weapons. But the construction of peace will begin there."

Santos began the talks with the insurgent group in 2012. The peace deal was signed on September 26. 


The insurgent group on Saturday said "we will pay material reparations to victims", AFP reported. 

The rebels had said earlier they would not be able to pay any compensation to their victims as all the money went into funding the war. 

FARC's critics have argued that the rebel group would not pay even if it had the money to do so. 

The rebels said "the monetary and non-monetary resources" that was put in war will be informed to the government. 

The assets will be disclosed within 180 days, the time given to disarm. 

 The conflict between the rebels and the government has left 260,000 dead and around seven million displaced. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)