Paraguay’s ruling conservative party lost the mayor’s office in the capital Asunción on Sunday in a surprise midterm setback for President Horacio Cartes. Popular TV presenter Mario Ferreiro defeated incumbent Arnaldo Samaniego of the president’s Colorado party, 50.99% to 40.56%, according to official results with all ballots counted.
The Organization of American States (OAS) will deploy an Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) for the 15 November municipal elections in Paraguay, according to the agreement signed between OAS and Paraguay.
Mercosur heads of state next summit is scheduled for 21 December in Asunción, Paraguay, the country currently holding the group's chair. At the meeting the six-month rotating chair will be handed to Uruguay for the first half of 2016.
Once Mercosur and the European Union conclude their exchange of goods and tariff reduction proposals for the long awaited trade agreement, contents of the deal will be kept in reserve while negotiations are ongoing, with no access to media or public opinion, anticipated Paraguayan foreign minister Eladio Loizaga.
Paraguay’s three branches of government agreed on Monday that Asuncion bears no obligation to repay $85 million borrowed by a representative of the late Gen. Alfredo Stroessner during the waning years of the 1954-1989 military regime.
Technical teams from Mercosur country members are scheduled to meet next Tuesday in Paraguay to iron out the final proposal to be presented by the group to the European Union for the long delayed trade and cooperation agreement. The meeting in Asunción will be headed by Rigoberto Gauto, who is currently the Mercosur coordinator since Paraguay holds this half year the rotating chair.
Paraguay is committed to return Mercosur to 'its roots', reach an agreement on some of the original fundamentals, eliminate restrictions to inter-trade and strongly promote the trade accord with the European Union. This is scheduled to take place in the coming six months once Paraguay is handed Mercosur' chair at the group's midyear presidential summit that begins on Thursday in Brasilia.
Pope Francis, wrapping up on Sunday his three-country tour of South America, urged people living in a flood-prone shantytown in Paraguay to stay united in their struggle for better living and working conditions.
President Cristina Fernández was present on Sunday in the Paraguayan capital, Asunción to hear Pope Francis give mass during his visit, and greeted the Argentine citizens who had travelled to see the leader of the Catholic church. The head of state left the open mass at around midday, handing Francis a gift before retiring after witnessing the ceremony with Paraguayan counterpart Horacio Cartés.
Pope Francis urged Paraguay to consolidate democracy and end corruption and drug trafficking, after receiving a colorful welcome on Friday at the start of the last leg of his eight-day South American tour.