Friday, June 22, 2012

Tensions mount in Paraguay as traditional twin-party impeaches President

The traditional twin-party of Paraguay, made up of the Conservative or Colorados (Reds) and the Liberals, who supported the philo-Nazi dictator Stroessner, are pushing the Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo (supported mainly by the Wide Front or Frente Guasú, which however is in relative minority in Parliament) to resign threatening with a "political trial" or impeachment procedure if he does not. 

There is no particular issue by which the Stroessnerist twin-party could held Lugo politically responsible for but in the end it is a matter of votes. And in the Paraguayan Congress, the twin party still has a majority. The particular trigger could be the clashes in Curuguaty, near the Brazilian border, where policemen and landless farmers killed each other in classes over the land, however Lugo rejects any connection. 

After the Colorados left the government, the Liberal Party also sided with the landowners on this issue and left the government, leaving Lugo in minority.

Both the President and the Congress have 5-years terms (would end in 2013) but the President cannot be reelected. The election of Lugo is considered by wide sectors of the Paraguayan society as a landmark step in the process of real democratization, something that the twin party opposes.

Peasant organizations are organizing a march on the capital, Asunción, in support of the President and opposing the parliamentary majority. The situation is described as very tense.

Source: LINyM[es].

Update (Jun 22):

The ALBA considers the impeachment attempt a coup. Lugo rejects to have any reason to resign and demands all the guarantees for a political trial, which he claims not to fear.

I have put all my effort so that the Paraguayans live better (...), therefore there is no political nor juridical reason to renounce to my oath.

Once approved by the House of Deputies, it is the Senate which will have to perform the impeachment procedure, needing 2/3 majority to effectively demote the President, what they can probably muster.

Therefore the popular mobilization is critical in order to impede the impeachment of President Lugo, dividing the right-wing oppostion. It would be indeed easier if the President could dissolve the Parliament, as happens in Europe and call for snap-elections but there is no constitutional way to dissolve the Congress until next year.

Source: LINyM[es].

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