FARC lawmakers assume seats in legislature as cloud hangs over peace deal

FARC lawmakers assume seats in legislature as cloud hangs over peace deal

10 former leaders of the Colombian guerrilla group FARC will be sworn in to Colombia’s Congress today. Under a 2016

Colombia FARC congress

Photo Leonardo Munoz/EPA

10 former leaders of the Colombian guerrilla group FARC will be sworn in to Colombia’s Congress today.

Under a 2016 peace deal, the guerrilla group will hold five seats in both the upper and lower house until 2026. With Colombia’s Congress dominated by the political right after parliamentary elections in March and FARC still deeply unpopular on all fronts, the leftist former militant group is unlikely to wield much influence.

Despite considerable successes, including the demobilisation of some 7,000 former armed personnel and a murder rate at its lowest point in 42 years, the peace deal remains fragile. Indeed, at least 1000 former FARC fighters—a rising figure—have filled the criminal vacuum left by the group’s demobilisation and are largely unchecked in Colombia’s south.

With President-elect Ivan Duque looking to alter the peace accords, focusing specifically on harsher sentences for former fighters, the risk of the deal fraying further will rise in the coming months. While the peace agreement is unlikely to fully disintegrate, the number of dissidents could rise rapidly as former fighters realise a life back in the Colombian jungle is better than one behind bars.

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