The Union of South American Nations, Unasur expects Paraguayan president-elect Horacio Cartes to attend the next summit of the block in August in Suriname, said Salomon Lerner head of the Unasur electoral observers’ mission, who previously delivered a very positive report on last April’s presidential election.
“The Unasur final report on April 21 election was delivered to the Superior Electoral Justice tribunal, TSJE and recommends lifting the suspension which currently stands on Paraguay, next 15 August when president-elect Cartes takes office”, said Lerner whose official title is head of the High Level Group for Paraguay.
Lerner said that in mid July there will be a meeting of Unasur delegates to assess the recommendation to lift the suspension and later at the Foreign ministers summit scheduled for 29/30 August in Paramaribo, they will have the opportunity to confirm the end of the suspension.
However, “this decision could be previous to that meeting given the positive report and other data received by the different countries and we are hopeful that the coming summit will have the honour of receiving the president democratically elected by the Paraguayan people, Horacio Cartes”.
Mercosur and Unasur suspended Paraguay June 2012 following the removal of Fernando Lugo from office and his replacement by President Federico Franco. The impeachment process was done according to the Paraguayan constitution and was accepted by Lugo, however Mercosur described the decision as a ‘congressional coup’ and imposed the sanction.
Concomitantly Mercosur approved the incorporation as full member of Venezuela, which until then was on hold because of the Paraguayan Senate refusal to accept former president Hugo Chavez in the group.
Nevertheless both regional groups decided to wait for the next presidential election in Paraguay (April 21) to make a final decision on the matter.
Lerner next to Alejandro Tullio, coordinator of the Unasur election observers’ group admitted the report indicates that the whole process, before, during and after Election Day can be described as “fair, clean, transparent and no anomalies were registered or reported that could have influenced electoral results”.
“We had references of some anomalies, not very evident, such as ‘buying votes’ and other irregularities reported to the European Union and to the Organization of American States, OAS, observers, but they were minor incidents”.
But overall “the election process was in the framework of legality and protocols established by the Constitution and the Electoral Tribunal” says the Unasur report underlining the fact that Braille and Guarani (indigenous language) were also used for greater transparency.
Security procedures were also excellent and there was a constant flow of TSJE staff at the ballot boxes. Another aspect which was praised was the overseas vote for Paraguayans residing in other countries.
“The overall assessment from the mission delegates, technical advisors, general coordinator and from the head of the mission was that the electoral process in Paraguay was most satisfactory” and will be delivered to the pro-tempore presidency of Unasur and the Foreign ministers council.