Paraguay's business-friendly ruling party lost fewer seats in Sunday's Senate election, than expected, ensuring strict fiscal policies while lessening chances of a tax hike on the key soy sector. Farmers in the world's No. 4 soybean exporter had feared that the new Senate might approves a measure, defeated last year, that would slap a 10% levy on exports.
Paraguay's Mario Abdo Benitez, “Marito”, who represents the country's long-dominant Colorado Party, was elected as president on Sunday, landing the top job in the country with the smallest economy in Mercosur. The US-educated son of a senior aide to the country's late dictator, Abdo Benitez won slightly more than 46% of the vote, with his centrist opponent Efrain Alegre taking almost 43% in a race that was far closer than expected.
Former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla began this week her activities as head of the Organization of American States (OAS) mission that will observe Paraguay’s April 22 elections. During an event at Paraguay’s TSJE electoral court, Chinchilla and the president of the TSJE, Jaime Bestard, signed an agreement establishing the terms of the mission, which will include 39 observers from 14 countries.
With Latin America’s three most populous countries voting for president this year, it’s easy to overlook the election in landlocked Paraguay (population 7 million) that takes place on April 22.
The head of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) in Paraguay, Romanian liberal Euro-deputy Renate Weber, insisted on the need for “complete transparency in the financing of political parties and the election campaign” ahead of the general election next April 22
The Organization of American States (OAS) and the government of Paraguay signed an agreement to observe the general and departmental elections of April 22, in a ceremony that took place at OAS headquarters in Washington DC.
The United Kingdom and Argentina presented on Monday to the Paraguayan foreign ministry a joint letter requesting assistance in contacting airlines in the country that could be interested in establishing a new scheduled air service to and from the Falkland Islands.
The United Kingdom and Argentina, following on the September 2016 joint communiqué to establish additional air links with the Falkland Islands, jointly announced on Friday that third country airlines interested in such operations will be contacted. It is expected that by the end of February the commercial process will be initiated, led by the Falkland Islands, and sometime next October the new weekly air link, with a monthly call in Argentina, will become operational.
A Paraguayan guerrilla group has freed two Mennonite men it had been holding hostage for five months. The two were released after their families paid a ransom and handed over food to local communities, Paraguayan media report.
Brazilian authorities have reported the seizure of a huge contraband of cigarettes from Paraguay, and some of the brands in the boxes belong to a well known tobacco company in Asunción, which belongs to president Horacio Cartes.