An important piece of legislation, considered a cornerstone of the Colombian peace process, has failed to pass Congress.
The bill needed 51 votes out of 102 in order to pass, but received only 50. Congress members from war-torn areas of the country as well as those from conservative parties rejected the bill.
The legislation would have regulated transitional justice within the monumental peace deal with former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, militants. The bill included temporary tribunals to try and sentence participants in the armed conflict.
The bill was approved on Monday by the House of Representatives but was not approved by the Senate.
Both legislative organs had until the end of November to approve the law using a court-approved "fast-track" mechanism to reduce the number of required debates and move along the peace process.
The bill was expected to be enacted before legislative elections occur in March.
In an odd turn of events just after the vote, Interior Minister Guillermo Rivera tweeted that the bill had passed, claiming that three imprisoned senators from the Social Party of National Unity shouldn’t be counted in the absolute majority necessary to pass the bill.
“Today there are only 99 qualified senators. The majority is 50 votes, so the peace districts were approved," he tweeted.
Congress President Efrain Cepeda refused to confirm the minister’s claims.
Congressional and presidential elections slated for March and May 2018 respectively. The peace agreement bill still needs to be passed and approved by Colombia’s Supreme Court.