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Paraguayan president faces impeachment following 17 killings in land eviction incident

Thursday, June 21st 2012 - 15:56 UTC
Full article 2 comments
President Lugo accused the Congress of trying “to interrupt the democratic process.” President Lugo accused the Congress of trying “to interrupt the democratic process.”

Paraguay's opposition-controlled lower house of Congress voted today to start impeachment proceedings against President Fernando Lugo following a land eviction in which 17 police and peasant farmers were killed last week.

Speaking to the press on Thursday, Lugo said he wouldn’t step down and vowed to “subject himself” to the constitutional procedure. The Paraguayan President also accused the Congress of trying “to interrupt the democratic process.”

Lugo, a former Catholic bishop elected four years ago on pledges to champion the needs of the poor, has struggled to carry out his reform agenda due to the opposition's grip on Congress.

In a vote today, the lower house approved the impeachment trial with 73 votes in favour and 1 against. It will now pass to the Senate, which is also controlled by Lugo's opponents. If approved, the impeachment trial would be held in the Senate.

The Liberal Party, which has been allied with Lugo, withdrew its support for Lugo and asked its four government ministers to resign from his cabinet.

“The Liberal Party carries no political responsibility for Lugo's government,” said party president Blas Llano.

Eight police officers and nine peasant farmers were killed in armed clashes during last Friday's land eviction in Paraguay, marking one of the worst such incidents in the country for two decades.

Lugo fired his Interior minister and renewed the command of the national police and promised to establish a committee to investigate the bloodshed, but it failed to ease intense political pressure.

The former bishop a long-time follower of the controversial liberation theology was backed in 2008 by a rag-tag coalition headed by the centre-right Liberal party, the traditional opponent of the Colorado party that has dominated Paraguayan politics for the last seven decades.

Political instability in the past year, fueled by disputes within Fernando Lugo's cabinet, has led the Colorado Party to regain popularity and as the coalition dissolved Congressional control remains firmly anchored in the conservatives.

Despite intense pressure from Brazil and Argentina the Paraguayan congress has systematically blocked the access of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez incorporation to Mercosur.

In next year’s presidential elections the Colorado party is forecasted to return to full power on a sweeping victory following the frustrating experience of President Lugo.

Categories: Politics, Paraguay.

Top Comments

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  • Kirk Nelson

    While in Europe the financial crisis is in motion, in Latin America is the political dysfunctional and bad management that keeps worngly expanding, such as Bolivia and Paraguay, that is for now.
    Either of the two cases, the common denotminator are government negligence and irresponsibility, lack of concentration on local social and economic issues rather than devote energy on regional and world problems.
    A brut implementation of the Socialism will not work in the world anymore , because most european socialism countries, currently are functioning as democratic countries simply, because the old political system did not worked.
    However, handfull of south american leaders strongly force to shift their political democratic systems to socialism. What a waste.
    People needs jobs, food, good education and better health sytems.
    They do not need weapons, as Venezuela expended 6 Bilion USD in 2010 and Brazil 4 .3 Billion USD, while Ecuador expends only 1.3% of its GDP on health care.
    Let us be realistics. In the last 4 years leaders from the Unasur countries, have expended 10 times more money on international travels, conferences, seminars, creating several non-operating organizations, personal lavish stiles and so forth with the poor people's money?
    The level of research and development among the Unasur countries are below the lower level. How many Noble prizes they hold together?

    Kirk Nelson,
    New York, USA

    Jun 22nd, 2012 - 11:19 pm 0
  • British_Kirchnerist

    The Liberals and Colorados are two sides of the same coin, or to use George Galloway's brilliant phrase two cheecks of the same backside, both are oligarchic parties of the past, Lugoism is the only hope for Paraguay

    Jun 24th, 2012 - 01:57 pm 0
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