Leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, invited several presidential candidates for the country’s 2018 elections to attend their upcoming Congress, where they will officially launch their political movement.
The former guerilla group, now on path to becoming a political party, is scheduled to hold its Congress on Aug. 27 and announce their political party on Sept. 1.
“The FARC invites the current candidates for the presidency so that on the first day of the sessions they can present to the delegates their vision of the country and their commitment to peace," FARC leader Ivan Marquez said as he read the official statement in a press conference in Bogota.
According to the statement, the Congress will also mark the closing of the armed confrontation and the inauguration of “a new era for Colombia” following a peace agreement signed with the Colombian government.
Well-known leftist figures like Gustavo Petro, Bogota's former mayor, and Piedad Cordoba, an Afro-Colombian human rights activist, have announced their decision to run for the presidency in 2018. They have not, however, confirmed plans to cooperate with the FARC’s forthcoming party.
Marquez said that during the event they will decide on the nature of the new political party, “which will have the task of offering a political alternative to Colombian society as a whole, and particularly the working class.”
“The excluded, the common men and women,” will be consulted, Marquez added, saying that the FARC hopes to “contribute to improving their present and daily life.”
The FARC also said they are committed to working towards a transitional government and “a great democratic coalition” to guide their participation in the upcoming elections.
Several local reports have speculated on the new name the group will embrace.
According to Caracol Radio, they will be known as Frente Amplio de Reconciliacion de Colombia - Esperanza del Pueblo (Broad Front for the Reconciliation of Colombia - People's Hope). On the other hand, Pacifista said the name will instead be Fuerza Alternativa (Alternative Force).