Former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo continues to lead in the run up to Paraguay's presidential election followed by the incumbent candidate Blanca Olevar, according to the latest public opinion poll.
Polls results show that 31.9% of respondents would vote for Lugo's Alliance for Change (APC) ticket in the April 20 election. Blanca Ovelar of the ruling National Republican Association - Colorado Party (ANR) are second with 27.5%, followed by retired Army general Lino Oviedo and his National Union of Ethical Citizens (UNACE) with 24.9%. President Nicanor Duarte won the April 2003 presidential election as the ANR candidate with 37.1% of all cast ballots. The ANR has been involved in Paraguay's government since 1947, even during the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. However Duarte is not eligible for a new term. In 1996, Oviedo launched a failed coup against the government of Juan Carlos Wasmosy. He was convicted in 1998 and sentenced to ten years in prison but was released last year. In September 2007, bishop Lugo oversaw the creation of the APC, which brings together seven opposition parties. On March 20, former Paraguayan soccer star José Luis Chilavert, one of the country's most popular and celebrated athletes, endorsed Lugo, saying, "The Lugo-Franco ticket is the change our country needs and this is why I'm with them". Referring to Ovelar and Oviedo, Chilavert added: "The people cannot support a candidate who fraudulently won an internal primary. They cannot support a man who tried to launch a coup". The ICA poll interviewed 1.700 Paraguayan adults, between March 8 to Mach 16 2008. The margin of error is 4%.