March 8 (UPI) — A presidential candidate representing a former Colombian rebel group withdrew from the race Thursday, citing health issues.
Rodrigo Londono, a former FARC rebel commander known by his alias Timochenko, chose to withdraw his presidential bid after undergoing heart surgery on Wednesday. The groups said it will not select a replacement.
“The surgery which took place yesterday, combined with… features of the electoral campaign, has led us to decline our presidential aspirations,” FARC Senate candidate Ivan Marquez said.
FARC — formerly known as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — realigned itself as a political party in September 2017 and adopted the name Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, which maintains the four-letter acronym in Spanish.
FARC is assured five seats in the Senate and five in the House of Representatives as part of a 2016 peace deal which disarmed the group.
Marquez said that although Londono has withdrawn from the race, former FARC members will maintain their candidacy for Senate and House seats.
Londono had been polling about 1 percent support and the party was forced to cancel its campaign events amid protests.
The U.S. State Department has accused Londono of controlling FARC cocaine operations and “the murder of hundreds of people” and his motorcade was pelted with tomatoes and eggs by angry protesters in February.