Executive Summary: The peace negotiations currently underway in Colombia between the Juan Manuel Santos government and the guerilla group known as the FARC are setting the conditions for the eventual electoral participation of FARC ex-combatants, including the opportunity for them to run for office. This Insights report examines the attitudes of Colombians towards the FARC’s formal participation in the country’s political system. In particular, I examine respondents’ reactions to a hypothetical electoral victory by a FARC ex-combatant in the 2015 local elections. While a majority disapprove of such an outcome, I find that those more satisfied with Colombian democracy and those in favor of peace negotiations are more likely to accept the election of a FARC ex-combatant. These findings could offer a path for the eventual acceptance by most Colombians of the FARC as a legitimate political organization in the post-conflict Colombian system.
This may well go in the "we shouldn't be surprised" category, but it highlights how people like Alvaro Uribe who oppose peace talks and political incorporation are not reflecting a consensus--they are hardliners. More importantly, it emphasizes how the opinions of those who live in conflict areas need to be taken into consideration as they are more in favor of accepting an election. They are war weary and deserve a voice.