Bogota (AFP) - Colombia's FARC rebels called Friday for proponents of a controversial peace deal to support a single presidential candidate for elections in 2018, as the guerrillas prepare to turn to politics.
Speaking a day after signing a revised peace accord that has left the country deeply divided, FARC chief Rodrigo "Timochenko" Londono sought to strike an alliance to protect the deal from its opponents.
The proposed coalition would bring together what would once have been unlikely bedfellows: the FARC with President Juan Manuel Santos and his allies.
Timochenko wants them to team up against opponents, led by ex-president Alvaro Uribe, who oppose the deal as too soft on the FARC.
"We have begun calling for a candidacy that gathers together all the aspirations of those who want peace and guarantees the continuity of these accords," Timochenko told a press conference.
"The forces that oppose peace are already campaigning for the elections... so why don't we who want peace start talking now?" he said.
He did not name names, but one person floated as a possible candidate to succeed Santos is the government's chief negotiator in the two-year peace talks, Humberto de la Calle.
Colombia's future is hanging in the balance as Santos approaches the end of his second and final term in 2018.
Santos won this year's Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a historic accord with the FARC, seeking to end a half-century conflict that has claimed 260,000 lives.
But after Uribe campaigned against the deal as granting impunity to war criminals, voters narrowly rejected it in a referendum last month.
The government and FARC have now signed a revised deal, which they plan to ratify in Congress -- bypassing a second referendum.
But Uribe and his Democratic Center party have vowed to fight it, setting up a heated battle that will likely spill over into the mid-2018 vote.
Launched in 1964, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist guerrilla group, is preparing to disarm and start anew as a political party.
Uribe and his allies argue any peace deal should force former rebels to do jail time for their crimes and bar them from holding office until their sentences are up.