The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, have ended their Congress ahead of the group's transition into a political party, as part of the peace agreement to end more than five decades of conflict.
At the closing session, the FARC also confirmed their new name, the Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, leaving the group with the same acronym they have been known by for decades.
The Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations, Ernesto Samper, attended the 5-day event which took place at the Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada Convention Center in Bogota.
Por decisión mayoritaria en nuestro congreso, se definido como nombre del #NuevoPartido: Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común. (FARC)— Rodrigo Londoño (@TimoFARC) August 31, 2017
"By a majority decision within our congress, the new name of the #NewParty is defined as: Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons."
"Welcome to democracy, one of the main functions of this new party will be to lead the formation of a large progressive bloc for peace, which will accommodate all kinds of people who are committed to the Havana agreements," Samper said, referring to the peace agreements made between the group and the Colombian government last year.
Some 1,200 members attended the Congress and were joined by about 200 international guests and 400 journalists. At its plenary session, the delegates also approved the fundamental elements of the party, its political platform, and revealed its new symbol.
Campesinos, Indigenous people, Afro-descendants and women's representatives from across the country joined the Congress’ delegation.
The new party aims to take part in all future elections, from votes for small communal councils to municipal polls as well as for legislative seats.
The FARC has already announced plans to seek a 2018 election alliance with the Colombian Communist Party, less than a year before the country's presidential election.
A new Gallup poll on Thursday found that FARC is leading in popularity by two points, compared to other political organizations in the country.
The transition of the group into a political party, still “does not mean that we give up our ideological foundations,” said Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timochenko, the top leader of the FARC, during the opening ceremony of the Congress..
"We don't want to break ties with our past. We have been and will continue to be a revolutionary organization," Ivan Marquez, another leader of the FARC said last week.
"See you tomorrow in the Plaza de Bolivar. We invite you to the Concert of Reconciliation and Peace. #NewPartY #NewColombia"
Friday will be the official launch of the new party, in Bogota’s Plaza de Bolivar, where all are invited to celebrate with a “concert for reconciliation and peace.”