Colombia has voted to reject a peace deal with the communist paramilitary group FARC, in an incredibly tight and unexpected referendum result.
In one of the closest major referendums of modern times, 50.24% of voters rejected the deal to bring the war to an end, whilst 49.76% backed it.
The main reason reporters have suggested for the result was a feeling that the concessions given to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who are responsible for the deaths of over 260,000 people over a war spanning 52 years, were too lenient.
Some of the concessions included the communist group becoming a political party and holding three seats in the Colombian national congress. There were also terms of amnesty for most FARC members, whilst some of the most prolific criminals would face shortened jail sentences.
In return, FARC had agreed to lay down their arms as well as ending their operations in the illegal drug trade, which was one of their primary sources of income.
The result is a huge setback for Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, who had previously addressed the United Nations to celebrate the 297-page deal, adding that he was “very, very confident” that Colombians would accept it.
On hearing the result of the referendum, Santos said that he accepted the democratic decision and would continue to be the “guarantor of Colombia’s stability and maintain public order.”
He added that he would continue to “seek and negotiate for peace.”