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Paraguay’s 2018 Presidential Race Encumbered by Shady Deal-Making

ISSN:1060-4189
LADB Article ID: 80481
Category/Department: Paraguay
Date: 2017-12-15
By: Andrés Gaudín

With both major parties apparently irreconcilably divided internally, Paraguay completed all steps on the timetable leading to the April 22 election of the president, legislators, and governors. However, no one dares to guess who the winners will be. Based on a legally questionable interpretation of Article 229 of the Constitution, which rules out the reelection of sitting presidents but not of former ones, Paraguay’s electoral authority, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia Electoral (TSJE), blocked former president Fernando Lugo from running for president, saying it would be a reelection bid. Lugo took office in 2008 and was overthrown in 2012. In April, after the TSJE ruling, Congress gave the reelection bid a green light in a shady arrangement between Lugo’s Frente Guasú and current President Horacio Cartes’ Partido Colorado (PC). This move set off strong popular protests and led both Lugo and Cartes––who had also planned to run, under the same agreement¬––to pull out of the race. Cartes’ and Lugo’s decisions not to run opened the way for minor leaders and entertainment figures who had never participated in politics to appear on the scene.

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