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  HOME | Colombia (Click here for more)

Colombian Education Minister Steps Down in Wake of Peace Referendum

BOGOTA – Education Minister Gina Parody, who worked actively to win approval of the peace agreement between the government and FARC rebels, resigned on Tuesday, just two days after the majority of Colombian voters rejected the pact.

“In the past few hours, I submitted my resignation as minister of education to President Juan Manuel Santos, considering that my cycle of service to the country’s youth and children has ended,” the 42-year-old Parody said in a statement.

On Aug. 30, two years into her tenure, Parody requested a one-month leave of absence to join the campaign to convince voters to approve the peace agreements.

“With peace, education and equal opportunities, Colombia will be able to create a better future,” Parody said, adding that she would continue “working with discipline and without pause in pursuing that dream.”

The “No” option garnered the support of 50.21 percent of voters, while 49.78 percent of those casting ballots voted “Yes.”

All of Colombia’s political parties were invited to send representatives to the closed-door meeting, the government said.

Some 34.8 million citizens were eligible to vote “Yes” or “No” Sunday on the agreement between President Juan Manuel Santos’s administration and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rebel group.

On Sept. 26, Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias “Timochenko,” signed an agreement ending more than half a century of civil war in the Andean nation.

The pact was the result of nearly four years of talks in Havana and was signed at a ceremony in Cartagena before more than 2,500 invited guests, including 15 presidents and Spain’s King Juan Carlos.

The agreement established a timetable for the FARC to lay down its arms and become a legal political organization, as well as an international verification mechanism to ensure that both sides fulfill their commitments.

 

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