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.
“The political temporary suspension of Paraguay (from Unasur) is conditioned to the democratic process”, recalled Lerner during a press conference in Asunción ahead of Sunday’s ballot.
Paraguay was suspended from Unasur and from Mercosur in reprisal for the removal last June of Fernando Lugo following his political impeachment by the Senate and his replacement by Vice-president Federico Franco.
Lerner said he would be writing “a detailed report of what happens next Sunday as well as the period leading to the taking office of the new government so that foreign ministers and president of Unasur make a decision on the return of Paraguay”.
However Foreign minister Jose Felix Fernandez insisted that for the Paraguayan government the country is still a full member of Mercosur and Unasur ‘according to international law”.
“The political impeachment in the Senate of former president Lugo was legal, legitimate because it complied with the Paraguayan constitution. But the marginalization of Paraguay from Mercosur and Unasur did not follow international treaties since Paraguay was not given a chance to explain the constitutional procedure”, said Fernandez.
Following the suspension of Paraguay the leaders from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay decided the incorporation as Mercosur full member of Venezuela, which Fernandez argues “is contrary to the Mercosur charter which establishes that all countries must approve the incorporation, a unanimous vote. The Paraguayan congress, as sovereign expression of the Paraguayan people has yet to consent to the incorporation”.
The Paraguayan Senate was reluctant to approve Venezuela’s incorporation because of differences with Hugo Chavez who they considered non-democratic for his attacks on the political opposition and media.
Regarding the controversial issue the incumbent candidate from the Liberal Radical Authentic party said that “despite the ideological differences that could have existed with the deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, if I win on Sunday I pledge to give priority to the democratic institutions”.
Opposition candidate Horacio Cartes from the Colorado party said at a political rally that “Venezuela is a great market. I don’t want to personalize the issue; I want to have the brotherly Caribbean country as part of our regional market”. He did not expand on his statement.
An estimated 3.5 million Paraguayans will be going to the polls on Sunday to elect, president, vice-president, 45 Senators, 80 Deputies, 18 members of the Mercosur parliament and 17 regional governors for the next five years. Whoever wins on Sunday, will only be taking office next August 15.