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Paraguay’s Outgoing President Draws Scant Political Benefits from Pro-Investor Laws

LADB Article ID: 80547
Category/Department: Paraguay
Date: 2018-03-09
By: Andrés Gaudín

When he took office as president of Paraguay in 2013, Horacio Cartes began putting together a collection of laws and regulations with which he hoped to industrialize the country, tame its chronic unemployment problem, and launch major infrastructure projects that would encourage economic growth. Those accomplishments, he reasoned, would then allow him to seek and win a second term and thus stay on as president until 2023. But with the presidential elections now just five weeks away, few of his plans came to fruition, including his hope of running again, which ended with a reminder from the judiciary that the Constitution expressly prohibits reelection. Nor was he able to continue his crusade through an heir apparent, in this case his political disciple Santiago Peña, who lost an internal election in December for a chance to represent the governing Partido Colorado (Colorado Party, PC) in the elections scheduled for April 22. Cartes pinned his hopes for an economic turnaround in Paraguay on new incentives and regulations for maquiladora (assembly and manufacturing) plants; a public-private partnership scheme called the Alianza Público Privada (APP) to develop infrastructure and create jobs; and legislation aimed at boosting youth employment. The program gained support from the business sector, but The APP failed to generate much popular support.

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