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Colombia’s FARC Re-launches as Civilian Political Party

  • VOA News

Leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), sit before former guerrillas as they lead the FARC's National Congress where they launched their political party in Bogota, Colombia, Aug. 27, 2017. The former leftist rebels have chosen a familiar-sounding acronym for their political movement: FARC, which now stands for "Common Alternative Revolutionary Force."

Colombia's Marxist former guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC), re-launched as a civilian political party Friday with a new name, the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Comun - FARC), thus preserving its acronym in Spanish.

At a meeting Thursday, after a week-long congress, 900 members of the group voted overwhelmingly to change the group's name, scrubbing any reference to its armed past as they map out a political future.

However the Marxist guerrilla group, which fought for over 50 years with the state before signing a peace deal last year, says it is preserving its revolutionary spirit.

The new FARC party will hold a formal launch ceremony Friday on Bolivar Square, near the presidential palace in the capital, Bogota.

Under the 2016 peace accord with the government, which brought to an end the bloody war that that had killed more than 220,000 people, most of the group's fighters were granted amnesty and allowed to participate in politics.

Under the deal, FARC will have 10 automatic seats in Congress through 2026 and may campaign for additional seats.

Both legislative and presidential elections in Colombia are set for 2018.

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