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A supporters of the peace accord signed between the Colombian government and rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, cries as she follows on a giant screen the results of a referendum to decide whether or not to support the deal in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. Colombia's peace deal with leftist rebels was on the verge of collapsing in a national referendum Sunday, with those opposing the deal leading by a razor-thin margin with almost all votes counted. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Colombians rejected a peace deal with the FARC rebels that would have ended a 52-year war


Colombian voters have rejected a peace deal with the FARC rebels, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. This is a surprising outcome which could ultimately prolong the nation's 52-year armed conflict.

With more than 99 percent of polling stations reporting, Columbian voters rejected the peace deal by a razor-thin margin of 50.25 to 49.75 percent.

Despite four years of negotiations, Colombia's half-century war, which has killed 220,000 and displaced 8 million, may not be over.

President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez signed the deal last week and surveys had predicted it would easily pass, according to the Washington Post.

For Santos, who has pursued this peace deal since 2011 even to the detriment of his popularity among voters, this is a tough blow.

According to the Post, Santos took a huge risk by insisting that the peace deal would only be valid if Colombian voters agreed to it.

Despite the results of the referendum vote, Jimenez reiterated FARC's willingness to continue working toward peace.

"The love we feel in our hearts is gigantic and with our words and actions will be able to reach peace," FARC said in a tweet, even after it was clear voters were voting against the peace deal.

On Saturday, guerrillas volunteered to begin the disarmament process by detonating 1,400 pounds of explosives in front of United Nations observers.

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