Paraguay's president Nicanor Duarte Frutos announced the naming of a new Finance minister following the unexpected resignation for strictly personal reasons of Ernst Bergen who had been on the job for 26 months.
Bergen was replaced by Cesar Barreto until now head of the country's Financial Development Corporation which acts as a government investment bank in support of small businesses. "I want to transmit to the local and international community that Paraguay's economic policy will retain its current course, the same philosophy, same line of action, same responsibility regarding the long term objectives of the government", said Duarte Frutos in a national conference on television. The president underlined that with the current policies implemented since 2003, "Paraguay is in the midst of several records, export record, imports record, tax revenue, credit, liquidity and international reserves", although he did not reveal official data. Outgoing minister Ernst Bergen had been on the job since May 2005 and resigned for "strictly personal reasons". He said that at "all times" he had the full support from the president for which he was most grateful. Bergen was the Finance minister which most lasted in the job in the last three presidential periods. Incoming minister Barreto said the instructions he had received were "to deliver the economy in full growth and with a strong fiscal situation" to the next government which will be arriving in a year's time. Bergen is the second minister from the Duarte Frutos administration that resigns in less than a month. On July 2, Education minister Blanca Ovelar left her post to promote her presidential aspiration with the ruling Colorado Party. General elections are scheduled in Paraguay for April 2008. The Colorado Party calendar indicates primaries are to be held next December with several hopefuls running: Ovelar with the support from President Duarte Flores; together with vice president Luis Castiglioni and Jose Alderete the party's chairman, both distanced from the president.