Paraguay Electoral Tribunal officially announces April 2013 general election
Paraguay officially announced holding elections on April 2013, when a new president and congress will be voted. The three branches of government attended the launching of the announcement that took place at the Superior Electoral Justice Tribunal on Tuesday, one day ahead of the OAS Permanent Council debate on “the Paraguayan situation”.
Present at the ceremony were President Federico Franco; president of Congress Senator Jorge Oviedo Matto and the head of the Electoral Tribunal, TSJE, Victor Nuñez. TSJE secretary Alberto Ramirez Zambonini made the official presentation of the document calling for the general election to renew the Executive and the Legislative branches.
“The total number of registered voters so far is close to 3.5 million and those not affiliated to any political party 22% of the registry”, said Ramírez Zambonini, adding that next 9 December all parties will be holding their primaries to choose candidates.
In a brief speech, addressed to the international community, President Franco ratified that his government would step down in August 2013, as mandated by the constitution.
“It has been insinuated that this government had no intention of holding elections or had the idea of delaying the calendar to stay longer, well let me tell you that this event today more than denies such allegations”, said President Franco who ratified the invitation extended to international observers to be present and monitor the guarantees and transparency of the “entire democratic electoral process”.
“This process and the official constitutional calendar will be crowned on 15 August when the newly elected president takes office and who is talking returns home feeling satisfied and confident of having complied with his duty”, underlined Franco.
“Paraguay is a free, sovereign and independent country and will remain as such” despite the international crisis blown out of all proportions because of the political impeachment that removed Fernando Lugo from the presidential office and had Paraguay suspended as member of Mercosur and Unasur.
The president of the Court Victor Nuñez said that “voting is a right and an obligation” and called on the Paraguayan citizenship to turn out to vote in April 2013. He also underlined that Paraguay “will for ever remain a free and independent country”.
Senator Oviedo Matto praised the decision to invite international observers to the electoral process although he underlined that the “true observers” will be the members of the ballot tables and observers of the different parties that will also be present to make sure everything is running smoothly.
On Wednesday in Washington the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold a delayed special meeting to consider “the situation in the Republic of Paraguay”.
Following the political impeachment and removal of Lugo from office last month, Mercosur and Unasur, unanimously condemned the political process and suspended Paraguay until next year’s elections. However OAS has yet to express position on the issue and opinions are divided on sanctions against the new administration of Paraguay headed by President Franco.