The candidate of Paraguay’s ruling conservative Colorado Party, Santiago Pena, won Sunday’s presidential election. He received 42.7 percent of the vote, while his rival, the progressive opposition candidate Efrain Alegre, could count on 27.5 percent, Reuters reported. 99 percent of the votes have been counted so far.
Pena was previously the finance minister and in the election campaign he emphasized the acceleration of the country’s economic development. The opposition candidate Alegre tried to score points with accusations of corruption against the leaders of the ruling party.
Five years ago, Alegre lost the presidential election to Mario Abdo Benitez, the outgoing president. Benitez could not run again for constitutional reasons, as under the country’s constitution, the head of state can only hold office for one term.
In his winning speech, Pena said: “We have a lot of work to do, after recent years of economic stagnation, fiscal deficits, the task that awaits us is not for a single person or party” and called for: unity and consensus.
They want to continue conservative policies
The elections, in which 4.8 million citizens were entitled to vote, were the eighth democratic elections since the fall of the bloody military dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner, who ruled one-man from 1954-1989. He was known in Latin America, among other things, for the fact that he called himself “Excelentisimo”, which means “The Greatest”.
Paraguayan citizens had to choose in Sunday’s vote between continuing the strongly conservative policy of the country, which has been ruled by the Colorado Party for 76 years with a short break, or changing in favor of more centrist options. This is the assessment of the importance of the Paraguayan elections by the majority of Latin American media commentators, including the influential centre-right Argentine daily La Nacion.
In Sunday’s vote, Paraguayans also elected 45 senators, 80 deputies and 17 state governors. The electoral commission reported that the ruling party probably also won a majority in parliament.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/Raul Martinez