Ahead of referendum, polls favour Colombia peace deal

A strong majority of likely voters say they support a peace deal between Colombia's government and the country's largest Marxist guerrillas, according to a new opinion poll published Friday, one month before a binding referendum.

After nearly four years of talks, the peace accord was finalized August 25 and is expected to be signed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Commander Rodrigo Londono in a ceremony this month.

The survey conducted for Colombian news outlets Radio Caracol and Red + Noticias showed growing support for the agreement since it was announced August 24.

Among likely voters, 62 per cent said they would support the peace deal in the October 2 vote. Another 28 per cent said they would not, while 10 per cent were undecided.

Another poll published August 26 by the daily El Tiempo showed "yes" votes with an 11-point lead over "no."

Both polls indicate increased support for the deal since it was announced, when polls had shown the electorate narrowly split.

As many as half of the 34 million potential voters still plan to abstain from the vote, according to surveys.

If ratified by voters, the peace accord would spell the end of FARC as an armed group and a significant reduction in the conflict, which began in 1964.

The agreement includes rural reforms, joint action against drug trafficking, political participation by demobilized guerrillas and the creation of a transitional justice system.

Colombia has for decades been riven by internal conflict as FARC and other left-wing rebels have battled military, police and right-wing paramilitaries.

More than 220,000 people have been killed, and millions forced to flee parts of the country consumed by war. The government counts more than 7.6 million Colombians as direct and indirect victims of the conflict, and more landmine victims than any country but Afghanistan.

Last update: Fri, 02/09/2016 - 21:12

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