The coloradimso faces elections shaken by sanctions

By Laura Barros |

Asunción (BLAZETRENDS).- The historic Colorado Party of Paraguay has not emerged unscathed from the US sanctions. for corruption against former president Horacio Cartes (2013-2018) and the country’s vice president, Hugo Velázquez.

And he will run in the general elections next Sunday after a campaign marked by the reduction of his funds for proselytism, the absence of massive acts and the distancing of his main factions.

Horacio Cartes delivers statements to the press in Asunción, Paraguay, in a file image. BLAZETRENDS/Nathalia Aguilar

This time, financing has been a headache for the ruling party, since Cartes, as leader of the Colorado Party – also called the National Republican Association (ANR) – was prevented due to financial sanctions from managing bank loans to finance their proselytizing activities, work that was left in the hands of other members of the political formation.

El Coloradismo, accustomed to large campaign displays, focused on obtaining funds that will begin to be distributed from this Monday, a few days before the vote, its vice-presidential candidate, Pedro Alliana, anticipated this weekend.

In statements to BLAZETRENDS, the researcher and professor Mabel Villalba indicated that, unlike previous years, “there is less strength and less dynamism in the campaign of the Colorado party in relation to other elections.”

He did not rule out, however, that having obtained funds for the final stretch of the contest could play in favor of the ruling party, particularly “on D-day.”

Alternation?

In any case, he warned, this time the vote “is not polarized on the ideological question, but what is at stake is alternation or continuity.” “That is the big question of the moment: if there are possibilities for alternation” , added this doctor in contemporary political processes from the University of Salamanca (Spain).

In this sense, he agreed with other experts who forecast “close elections” between the Colorado Party, which is nominating former minister Santiago Peña for the Presidency, and the opposition coalition Concertación Nacional, whose candidate is the liberal Efraín Alegre.

Paraguayan opponent and presidential candidate Efraín Alegre participates in a press conference in Asunción (Paraguay). Stock image. BLAZETRENDS/ Ruben Pena

Until a couple of months ago, Villalba added, the Concertación faced an asymmetric electoral competition against a party “with more than seventy years in power”, which “has appropriated the state apparatus” and “has a very strong”.

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But in the current scenario, he considered that it is uncertainty “that marks this campaign.” Paraguay has a single-round general election process, with which the Presidency will be won by the most voted.

“In other previous elections it was possible to identify a greater advantage of one or the other candidate, but at this moment the two are, let’s say, very even,” he concluded.

In any case, for Alegre it will be the third time that he has faced a Colorado Party candidate, after being surpassed by Cartes, in 2013, and by the current ruler, Mario Abdo Benitez, in 2018.

The President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, in a file image. BLAZETRENDS/ Rodrigo Jimenez

Abdo Benítez prevailed with 46.42% of the votes over Alegre (42.7%), a much narrower difference than that predicted by the polls at the time. Five years later, Fuerza Republicana, the faction that Abdo Benítez supports in the Within the ruling party, she remains distanced from Honor Colorado, Cartes’s wing.

The former president defeated the current ruler in the primary elections last December, in which they competed for the ANR Presidency. The separation seems not to have been settled before going to the polls.

On Sunday, the system of closed unlocked lists and proportional representation for multi-person positions, incorporated by law in 2019, will be released in a general election.

This mechanism will make it possible to define, for example, the composition of Congress based on the candidates with the most votes for each party and not according to their location on the candidate lists.

Some 4.8 million Paraguayans will vote, in addition to president and vice president, for deputies, senators, governors and members of departmental boards.

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