No change of power in Paraguay: Peña elected president – politics

The candidate of the long-standing governing party has won the presidential election in Paraguay. Santiago Peña (44) from the conservative Colorado party achieved 42.8 percent of the votes after counting almost all the ballots, as the national electoral authority announced on Sunday (local time). “Thank you for this victory in Paraguay,” said the 44-year-old economist Peña on Sunday. Acting President Mario Abdo congratulated Peña and called him “the President-elect”.

MP Efraín Alegre (60), who was nominated by several opposition parties and who was about the same in polls, came up with 27.5 percent. Third place went to the candidate Payo Cubas (61), who appeared as a system critic. All other applicants ended up far behind.

In the past 76 years, the Partido Colorado has lost just one election in the South American country: it was not in power from 2008 to 2013. Five years ago, Alegre lost to Mario Abdo Benítez, the outgoing incumbent. Abdo Benítez was not allowed to stand again for constitutional reasons, because the president is only allowed one term.

Santiago Peña used to be finance minister and above all wants to promote the country’s economic development. Opposition candidate Alegre had tried to score points with allegations of bribery against the ruling party’s leadership.

The president plays a central role in the South American country

Paraguay has almost seven million inhabitants and, along with Bolivia, is the only country in South America without access to the sea. The main exports are soy, electricity and beef. During the corona pandemic, numerous opponents of vaccination emigrated from Germany to Paraguay.

The president plays a central role in the South American country, he is also the head of government. In addition to the president, the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies and the governors were also newly elected in Paraguay on Sunday. According to the electoral authority, the Colorado party also appeared to have defended its majority in parliament.

The election results pose a challenge for Peña to restart Paraguay’s agriculture-dependent economy, reduce the large budget deficit and deal with mounting pressure from soybean and beef producers to abandon trade with Taiwan in favor of huge markets in China.

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