The lower house of Paraguay's Congress has voted overwhelmingly to reject a constitutional amendment that allowed the president to seek re-election. The proposal triggered riots last month, with protesters setting fire to part of the Congress building.
President-elect Horacio Cartes is one of Paraguay's wealthiest men with businesses in tobacco, finance, farming, retail and the soft drinks industry among others. Brash and ambitious, Cartes had never voted before joining the conservative Colorado Party in 2009.
Millionaire businessman Horacio Cartes won Paraguay's Sunday presidential election, returning the powerful centre-right Colorado Party to power after a brief spell started in 2008 ended in impeachment last year. Cartes won with a 9 or 10 percentage point lead over Efrain Alegre of the ruling Liberal Party, the head of the country's electoral tribunal said.
Paraguay will be electing a new president on Sunday and its re-incorporation to the Union of South American Nations, Unasur could happen under the new government anticipated Salomon Lerner, chief observer of the regional group.
On Thursday evening all of Paraguayan presidential candidates will be holding their final rallies after which begins a 48-hour ban of all electoral activities ahead of Sunday’s general election. Two candidates outstand in the dispute, Horacio Cartes from the Colorado party and Efrain Alegre from the ruling coalition headed by the Liberals.
The head of the Organization of Americas States, OAS electoral observers’ mission said that Federico Franco was the legitimate democratic president of Paraguay committed to holding transparent elections next April, elections which nobody in the world questions.
The Union of South American Nations, Unasur leaders meet on Friday in Peru to consider advances to the integration process and a report on the political and electoral situation in Paraguay, which remains suspended from the group since last June.
The Organization of American States, OAS, is sending a top electoral observation official to Paraguay to sponsor national political dialogue and make preparations for the OAS mission that will be following the electoral process leading to elections.
Unasur special envoy Salomon Lerner said he returns to Peru with “a good impression” of the Paraguayan electoral process and the overall situation of the country.
The Organization of American States (OAS) and Paraguay signed an agreement this week to send observers to the April 2013 elections. OAS contrary to Unasur and Mercosur did not describe Paraguay political events of last June as “a rupture of the democratic process” or a congressional coup and has been supportive of the country.