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May 26, 2017 | 21:00 GMT

Colombia: President Tries to Speed Up FARC Peace Deal

(Stratfor)

The Colombian government asked congress May 26 to extend the ability to fast track legislation for another six months, which will be crucial to passing the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) before a new president takes power in 2018.

Congress — dominated by Colombia's ruling coalition — is likely to grant the request. But the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos will still push in other ways to ensure that all parts of the FARC peace deal are passed before he leaves office. For example, the ruling coalition has begun discussions with its congressional delegations to ramp up support for the measures. Santos is racing against the clock: Colombia's congress will begin a three-month break beginning in December, and many of its members will soon be preoccupied with re-election campaigns.

Opposition lawmakers will likely try to present changes to the peace deal legislation, but they will not be able to block the peace deal if the ruling coalition successfully cuts down on congressional absenteeism and keeps its lawmakers united. The ruling coalition will prioritize parts of the peace deal — such as a land reform law and a law outlining the structure of transitional courts to grant former FARC members amnesty — so that even if all parts aren't passed, the bulk of the deal is implemented.

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