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Paraguay: President Tries to Force Re-Election, Troops Surround Congress
In response to Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes’s move to force Congress to allow his reelection, in violation of the country’s constitution, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“President Cartes has favored his own interests over his country’s and ignored the rule of law by compelling Congress to allow him to run for a second five-year term,” said Carlos Ponce, director of Latin American programs. “Cartes and former president Fernando Lugo have formed an alliance that is toxic for democracy and for Paraguay’s future. They have trampled on the constitution by ordering troops to surround Congress and then forcing through clearly illegal changes to the election law.”
President Cartes and his political party, in alliance with former president Lugo, forced a special session of Paraguay’s Congress to elect new authorities and make legal changes that would allow Cartes to run for reelection. Paraguay’s constitution does not allow presidential reelection. A proposed amendment permitting presidents to run for a second five-year term was defeated in the legislature last year, and the constitution does not allow for the reintroduction of such a bill.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.