BOGOTA – Rodrigo Londoño, the leader of Colombia’s former FARC rebels, has withdrawn from the May 27 presidential election due to health problems, the party founded by the demobilized guerrillas said on Thursday.
Londoño, long known by the nom de guerre Timochenko, underwent heart surgery on Wednesday in Bogota after having suspended campaigning on Feb. 9 in response to his being pelted with rocks at rallies in three different cities.
“Circumstances widely known to the public regarding the recovery of our candidate Timo from his surgery yesterday and the mentioned aspects of the electoral campaign have led us to withdraw our presidential aspiration,” FARC No. 2 Ivan Marquez said at a press conference, reading from a prepared statement.
The FARC will no longer be running a candidate in Colombia’s May 27 presidential election.
Londoño, who signed a peace accord with President Juan Manuel Santos on Nov. 24, 2016, announced at the end of 2017 that he would be the first candidate of the former guerrilla forces to the presidency, with labor activist Imelda Daza acting as his running mate.
“We thank Timo and Imelda for having accepted our nomination, who are both well aware of the structural limits faced by alternative forces to participate in politics and elections,” Marquez said.
FARC’s No. 2, who is running for Senate in next Sunday’s legislative elections, stressed that the former guerrilla forces have come across many obstacles to participate in politics.
Despite not running a presidential candidate, Marquez called on Colombians to vote for the party next Sunday and claimed that the FARC’s representation in Congress will be “robust” and “will work tirelessly to achieve a democratic peace with social justice.”
As a result of the peace accord, the FARC is guaranteed five senators and five representatives in the lower house for two consecutive periods, regardless of the number of votes it gets.