In Brief

Colombians reject deal to end Farc rebel war

Surprise referendum result risks prolonging armed conflict and plunging country into uncertainty

Voters in Colombia have moved against ratifying a peace deal between the government and Farc rebel forces, a shock referendum result narrowly rejecting the deal after four years of negotiations.

Polls "predicted yes would win with a comfortable margin of 66 per cent to 43 per cent", says The Guardian. But with counting complete from 98 per cent of polling booths, the No vote is ahead by 50.25 to 40.75 per cent, a difference of around 60,000 votes out of 13 million.

The result is "a surprise outcome that risks prolonging a 52-year-old armed conflict", says the Washington Post. It has also left President Juan Manuel Santos "politically crippled" and plunged the country into a period of uncertainty.

Santos said before the vote that there was "no plan B for ending the war". If he stands by his word, "the bilateral ceasefire will be lifted and the war will resume", says the BBC's Americas editor Leonardo Rocha.

However, Farc leaders believe the deal can be salvaged.

"The love we feel in our hearts is gigantic and with our words and actions [we] will be able to reach peace," they said.

Opposition to the peace accord was led by Alvaro Uribe, an influential former president who said the deal was "too soft on the Farc rebels by allowing them to re-enter society, form a political party and escape traditional jail sentences".

He and senior officials are now calling for the peace deal to be renegotiated, in defiance of Santos's insistence that a No victory would mean a return to war.

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