Critics of peace deal with rebels gain seats in Colombia elections

Former guerrilla commander and Senate candidate Pablo Catatumbo

President Juan Manuel Santos said that he already instructed the head of the negotiating team, Gustavo Bell, to travel to Quito, Ecuador, to resume talks.

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.

But Ivan Duque, the right-wing candidate supported by the hardliner ex-president of Colombia and now Senator-elect Alvaro Uribe, got 4,032,736 votes, about 67.73 percent, during his Despierta (Awake) coalition primaries.

During the coalitions' primaries his left-wing coalition received more votes than the right-wing coalition in eight departments of the Colombian Caribbean, with 103 advantage points.

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.

Finally, Almagro reiterated the unbreakable commitment of the hemispheric organization to continue to accompany social and institutional efforts to build peace through the Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP/OAS), which is celebrating 14 years of uninterrupted work in the most isolated territories and those most affected by armed violence in Colombia.

Centrist and leftist parties had also polled strongly, according to the partial results, with more than 90 per cent of the votes counted.

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Despite this, the group will sit in the new legislature thanks to five seats reserved for it in both the senate and lower house of representatives until 2026 under the terms of the peace deal.

The success of the conservative parties, which were opposed to the 2016 peace deal with the rebel group, raises questions about the future of the agreement.

As expected, the FARC performed poorly in the Sunday's election, garnering less than 0.4 percent of the vote for Senate and less than 0.3 percent in the lower house.

Other presidential candidates include Sergio Fajardo, German Vargas Lleras, Piedad Cordoba and Juan Carlos Pinzon.

"Since the bilateral ceasefire ended, there have been too many deaths on both sides, too many wounded, too many victims - this is what we must stop", Santos said in a televised address.

"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".

Sunday's vote was seen as a barometer for a fiercely contested presidential election in May.

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