Colombia’s FARC, a rebel group-turned-political party, said Friday it is suspending campaigns for political office amid threats to its candidates and a lack of security safeguards.
Campaigning “will be temporarily suspended until the government gives us minimum guarantees” that the leftist party’s candidates can campaign safely, FARC Vice Presidential Candidate Imelda Daza told AFP.
FARC presidential candidate Rodrigo Londono has been verbally attacked, and the group said 40 ex-fighters and relatives have been killed since the guerrillas reached a peace agreement with the government in late 2016. Security personnel have had to protect Mr. Londono from people trying to assault him at campaign events or upon exiting media interviews.
“At the very least we demand respect for our physical integrity and the right to present our ideas,” Ms. Daza said.
Colombia's @FARC_EPeace suspends presidential and legislative campaigns amid harassment and threats, until govt provides "sufficient guarantees" @MiamiHerald pic.twitter.com/WzM2F49Dfz
— Jim Wyss (@jimwyss) February 9, 2018
The peace deal that ended the five decades-long conflict guaranteed 10 seats for the FARC in Colombia‘s congress. FARC candidates still need to campaign for the seats, however.
Colombians elect members of Congress in March, and will choose a new president in May. Recent polls show that just one percent of voters support Mr. Londono — formerly the top FARC guerrilla leader best known by his nom de guerre “Timochenko” — in his presidential bid. Nevertheless, his presence has raised passions, forcing him to cancel campaign stops.