Expert Voices

Colombia's elections are about more than the FARC peace process

 Ivan Duque, presidential candidate for the Centro Democratico party, celebrate after winning the first round Presidential Elections in Colombia on May 27, 2018, in Bogota, Colombia.
Presidential and vice presidential candidates Iván Duque and Martha Lucia Ramirez after winning the first round of presidential elections in Colombia on May 27, 2018. Photo: Gabriel Aponte/Vizzor Image via Getty Images

On June 17, Colombia will hold second-round presidential elections, after Iván Duque took a commanding lead over the leftist Gustavo Petro in the May 27 first round. According to surveys today, it looks like a runaway victory for Duque, who based his campaign largely on opposing the peace plan with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group, negotiated by current President Juan Manuel Santos.

Yes, but: To boil the election down to an up-or-down vote on Santos’ peace deal that ended a 50-year civil war is a mistake. First, the peace deal that Santos obsessively sought is likely a fait accompli, even with a Duque victory. And second, support for the top 3 first-round candidates suggests that voters have prioritized better services and more public transparency.