Colombia: FARC performs poorly in first electoral test

Colombia: FARC performs poorly in first electoral test

Investors have been uneasy over possibility of Petro, a former member of the disbanded M-19 guerrilla group and ex-mayor of Bogota, winning the presidency as he has been running neck and neck with Duque in opinion polls.

The two parties in Fajardo's coalition won just under 9 percent of votes in the lower house and 13 percent in the Senate.

The former FARC commander was unlikely to have garnered many votes from Colombians, many of whom believe its leaders should be in prison, not running for office.

Duque, 41, is a lawyer and senator who worked at the Inter-American Development Bank and United Nations.

Petro, whose coalition does not represent all of the country's left-wing parties, had a far less emphatic primary victory than Duque, polling 40 percent fewer votes to secure the candidacy for his coalition.

Supporters of 57-year-old Petro's Colombia Humana party highlight his work to improve conditions for the poor.

Duque's Democratic Center party was leading the number of votes in the Senate, with 88 percent reporting, with over 2.2 million of 15.6 million votes.

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Other parties skeptical of the Farc accords, such as Radical Change and the Conservatives, came in second and third.

It was also the first time former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, competed politically since disarming under the 2016 peace deal to end a half century of conflict.

Voters, analysts and even Santos himself have scoffed at the group's decision to keep its infamous Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia by naming its political party the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force. The FARC peace deal and ELN negotiations will top the agenda as the presidential election campaign gets underway.

The group's presidential candidate withdrew from the race last week due to ill health and the party is not naming a replacement.

"He does not want to go down in history as the president who made peace with the FARC, but who walked away from talks with the ELN".

"It's important that they're now not at war, but really they won't have much impact on elections", analyst Juan Carlos Palou said."And anyway they don't have any attractive or innovative ideas".

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.

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