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

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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. 

Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.
Colombian journalist to CNN

The cease-fire between the government and FARC will continue, but it's not clear where negotiations will go from here. 

Detractors of the deal thought it didn't punish FARC rebels harshly enough; it offered rebels who confessed freedom from prison. The looming Hurricane Matthew also reduced voter turnout, especially in the pro-government coastal areas.

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.  

Colombia signed a peace treaty on Monday, ending a decades-long civil war

This video shows the celebration at the initial announcement of the peace deal. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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