Colombia's FARC takes first step toward forming political party

The six non-voting delegates who will represent the FARC rebel group in the Colombian Congress under the peace agreement signed last month went to the offices of the National Electoral Council on Thursday to formally inscribe the group Voices of Peace and Reconciliation as a political movement.

Registration is the first step toward becoming a legal political party.

The peace accord anticipates that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will evolve into a party and field candidates in the 2018 general elections.

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"We wanted to assume the difficult yet reassuring task of contributing to the conditions for the transformation of the FARC," delegate Imelda Daza said during the registration.

Daza is one of the few survivors of the Union Patriotica, which the FARC launched in 1985 amid an earlier, ultimately failed peace process. More than 4,000 members of the UP party were slaughtered by right-wing paramilitaries.

The aim of Voices of Peace and Reconciliation will be to promote the creation of a party following the complete disarmament and demobilization of the guerrillas, the FARC and the office of Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace said in a joint statement.

The Voices movement does not include any active members of the FARC, according to the statement.

Daza and the five other congressional delegates are "citizens who will participate exclusively in the debate of bills on constitutional or legal reforms for the implementation of the final peace accord," the statement said.

"To a great extent," delegate Jairo Rivera said, Voices of Peace and Reconciliation "is a transitory grouping pending the emergence of the political movement of the FARC."

Once the FARC has laid down all it weapons, Voices will have the option of becoming a political party, electoral council chairman Alexander Vega said.