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Current and Former Presidents Seek New Terms in Paraguay

LADB Article ID: 80253
Category/Department: Paraguay
Date: 2017-03-31
By: Andrés Gaudín

Paraguay’s last two constitutional presidents––Nicanor Duarte Frutos (2003-2008) and Fernando Lugo (2008-2012)––and the current head of state, Horacio Cartes, are pushing the country’s institutional structure to a dangerous limit: Without any agreement from political structures or the judicial branch, the elections set for April 22, 2018, paradoxically could constitute a new assault on democracy. This fear has been expressed by political analysts from all Paraguayan media outlets except those that belong to Grupo Cartes. Article 229 of the Paraguayan Constitution is vague regarding the reelection of a president, and its language can be interpreted in different ways, depending on one’s interests. Would-be candidates are campaigning while analysts debate whether the issue of presidential re-election should be addressed with a constitutional amendment, by calling for a constitutional assembly to reform Article 229, or by allowing the Supreme Court to have the final word on what the wording of the article actually means. The elections for president and vice president, 45 senators, 80 congressmen, and 17 department governors––during which the country’s citizens and for the second time, more than 700,000 Paraguayans living abroad will vote––are not scheduled for another 13 months. But among imprecise and hardly credible rumors of a coup d’état, everyone is acting as if re-election were constitutionally allowed

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