United States, Peru and Chile among others extended their congratulations to president-elect Horacio Cartes and to the Paraguayan people for the ‘extraordinary’ Election Day last Sunday and their significant turnout in such special circumstances.
“We congratulate President-elect Horacio Cartes on his victory in Sunday’s elections. We applaud the efforts of Paraguay’s electoral tribunal, the strong participation of Paraguay’s electorate, and the respect political parties showed for the democratic process”, said Patrick Ventrell, State Department spokesperson during the Monday media briefing.
Horacio Cartes and the Colorado party won Sunday’s election with 45.91% of the vote against 36.84% from the incumbent candidate Efrain Alegre, according to the Electoral Justice Superior Tribunal.
“The United States values its relationship with Paraguay and looks forward to working with the President-elect Cartes, on many of our shared interests, such as defending and promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and expanding trade and economic opportunities”, added Ventrell.
Likewise the Peruvian government that currently holds the rotating chair of Unasur, Union of South American Nations congratulated Cartes for his victory on Sunday’s election and wished him ‘success’, hoping that the two countries can continue working in improving friendship and cooperation links”.
“The task of the Electoral mission from Unasur to Paraguay and the High Level Group for the monitoring of the situation in our sister republic, and presided by Salomon Lerner, are clear expressions of the commitment with the consolidation of democracy in the region”.
Peru as chair of Unasur sent the two groups to Paraguay to follow the electoral process and Election Day results. Unasur as well as Mercosur suspended Paraguay following the removal of Fernando Lugo by the Senate and his replacement by Vice-president Federico Lugo in June 2012.
The Unasur suspension would last until the next election (April 21), with all guarantees to ensure the democratic process in the land-locked country. Unasur and Mercosur considered the removal of Lugo a congressional coup.
However United States and other Organization of American States members, despite the pressure from Mercosur and Unasur refused to sanction Paraguay for the June 2012 incidents and were convinced that Sunday’s election would help overcome the situation peacefully and in the institutional framework.
The Chilean Foreign ministry also sent a message of congratulations to Cartes for “having obtained the first majority in the Sunday presidential elections”. It also mentioned that President Sebastián Piñera was on the phone with Cartes “to personally transmit congratulations over the victory”.
The release also makes congratulations extensive to the Paraguayan people for their extraordinary civic display and massive turnout.
Chile joined Unasur and Mercosur in questioning the removal of Lugo from office by the Senate because of insufficient time for the former president to defend himself. Two days later President Piñera recalled to Santiago the Chilean ambassador in Asuncion, Cristian Maquieira. He was only sent back four months later.