Colombia's former guerillas face first electoral test

Qatar- Colombia votes in election seen as test for peace deal

Colombia's FARC, the former guerilla group was transformed by the 2016 peace treaty into a recognised political party with 10 guaranteed seats across the 102 seat Senate and the 166 seat House of Representatives.

Colombia's former FARC rebels will not field a candidate in the country's May presidential election as its hopeful, Rodrigo Londono, battles heart problems, the group said on Thursday.

Colombians went to the polls on Sunday to elect members of Congress in what President Juan Manuel Santos touted as "the most peaceful elections" in decades thanks to peace talks with the country's guerrilla groups.

Right-leaning candidates accuse Santos of failing to make a fair deal with the FARC - including by allowing ex-rebels to avoid jail sentences. Ivan Duque won the right-wing coalition with the support of Alvaro Uribe, and former Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro won a left-wing primary.

While no party came close to winning control of either the lower house or Senate, with results still not finalized early on Monday, Duque's Democratic Center party was polling the largest number of votes for the Senate, with more than 2.5 million, and was running second in votes for the lower house.

Marquez said the group was open to backing a presidential candidate from a different party if that person supports the peace deal.

"Our results were very positive" Petro told his followers after hearing of the first results.

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But Santos is ineligible for reelection in May's presidential vote and with his critics bolstered by Sunday's results, it is unsure exactly what peace will look like when he leaves office. Memories of when they were the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.the FARC, have NOT faded.

Despite a disastrous campaign that witnessed rebels-turned-politicians mobbed by angry crowds, some FARC candidates remained hopeful of their prospect in the country's legislature.

"The FARC are in a tough position", said Leon Valencia, a former combatant who now directs the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, a political think tank. "It's the first time in my life that I have voted and I doing so for the sake of peace".

The Farc, who kept their acronym when they transformed from an insurgency into a political party, took a meagre 0.33% of the vote.

"The mere fact of not applying what has been signed would be enough for this agreement to be ineffective", said Frederic Masse, a Colombian conflict expert at the Bogota-based Externado University.

"Although no party won a majority outright, together the three right-wing parties have 50 seats in the senate, which will make passing a law very hard without at least some of their support", Steele said.

In 1964, FARC rebels launched an insurgency against the Colombian state in response to the government's brutal suppression of a peasant uprising. More than 220,000 people were killed during the conflict.

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