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Colombia law give former rebels role in politics

By AFP

Added 11th May 2017 09:22 AM

The Senate voted 52-2 Wednesday in favor of the law providing for the "political reintegration" of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (L), the head of Colombia's FARC guerilla, Timoleon Jimenez, (C) and Cuban President Raul Castro (R), during the signing of the ceasefire between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla on June 23, 2016 | © AFP | Adalberto Roque

The Senate voted 52-2 Wednesday in favor of the law providing for the "political reintegration" of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Colombia's Congress has approved a law ratifying provisions of a peace agreement permitting the country's largest leftist guerrilla group to participate in the South American country's politics.

The Senate voted 52-2 Wednesday in favor of the law providing for the "political reintegration" of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The group's inclusion as a legal political party was a key point of the peace agreement signed in November between the government Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, which ended a conflict that has raged since 1964.

The new law guarantees the former guerrillas a minimum of five seats in the Senate, and five in the lower house of Congress, although the group must run in legislative elections next year to claim them.

The FARC will formally become a political party at a convention of former guerrillas that is scheduled for August.

Disarming the rebels was supposed to be completed by the end of the month, but the process has been delayed by logistical and legal issues, according to the United Nations, which is overseeing the task.

Santos said Monday that he expects the FARC's nearly 7,000 fighters to hand over their weapons by the end of May, but he acknowledged that there are another 900 caches with explosives, munitions and spare parts that must still be dealt with.

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