Public participation in peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN): An opportunity to redress power asymmetry and enhance the insurgents' readiness



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Conflict Resolution Quarterly


This article examines the centrality of the participation of society in the peace process between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) that initiated during the Santos administration, in the light of readiness theory. It does so on the basis of over 60 interviews with key respondents, documents from delegations to the negotiating table, as well as secondary sources. It analyses the importance of this point for the ELN on ideological and pragmatic grounds, and the government's perspective on it. It argues that such a participation was key to rebalance the perceived power asymmetry between the government and ELN, increasing this guerrilla group's optimism about a dignified exit and hence its readiness to engage in talks. In particular, the ELN considered that, by making social groups stakeholders in the peace process, these groups could put pressure on the government to agree on, and implement, provisions towards social transformation. In so doing, this article contributes to debates on how to enhance weaker parties' readiness to negotiate an end to internal armed conflict, as well as on how public participation in peace processes could be useful in this regard.




85133060655 (Scopus)