BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The Latest on Colombia’s referendum on an agreement to end a half-century of armed conflict (all times local):
Heavy rains resulting from Hurricane Matthew are delaying the opening of some polling stations in rural parts of Colombia as the country votes on whether to ratify a peace deal between the government and rebels.
The Interior Ministry says 82 voting booths in La Guajira peninsula, the area hardest hit by Matthew, didn’t open as scheduled due to logistical problems triggered by flooding and bad weather.
President Juan Manuel Santos is urging Colombians to look for inspiration from Indian independence leader Gandhi, who was born 147 years ago Sunday, as they cast ballots on a deal to end the country’s long civil conflict.
“We in Colombia have to adopt this culture of non-violence,” Santos told reporters after casting his ballot Sunday in Plaza Bolivar next to the presidential palace.
Santos said that heavy rainfall and bad weather as a result of hurricane Matthew shouldn’t be an obstacle to heading to the polls.
“All of us can be protagonists in this historic change taking place in our nation,” he said.
Polls have opened in Colombia’s referendum where voters will be asked whether to endorse or reject a historic peace deal with the country’s largest rebel movement.
Authorities are urging Colombians to vote early, though heavy rainfall from the offshore passage of Hurricane Matthew is expected to dampen turnout.
In Plaza Bolivar, where President Juan Manuel Santos is voting, there were long lines of voters standing with umbrellas waiting to cast ballots.
At least 13 percent of the electorate, or around 4.5 million voters, must ratify the accord signed Sept 26 in order for implementation to begin. Polls show the “yes” vote favored by an almost two-to-one margin.