Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
President Fernando Lugo’s election last year raised the expectation of social improvement for Paraguay’s poor population. However, Lugo struggled to advance his reform agenda given his increasingly weak and unwieldy Patriotic Alliance for Change (APC) coalition and an obstructive Congress. After its principle conservative party left in July, the ruling coalition lost its majority in Congress. Meanwhile, corruption in the judiciary and conflict between landowners and peasants continued during the year.
Paraguay is an electoral democracy. The 2008 national elections were considered to be free and fair. The 1992 constitution provides for a president, a vice president, and a bicameral Congress, consisting of a 45-member Senate and an 80-member Chamber of Deputies, all elected for five-year terms. The president is elected by a simple majority vote, and reelection is prohibited. The constitution bans the active-duty military from engaging in politics.
An estimated 6 out of every 10 children born in Paraguay are not registered at birth and consequently lack access to public health and educational services. Sexual and domestic abuse of women continues to be a serious problem. Although the government generally prosecutes rape allegations and often obtains convictions, many rapes go unreported because victims fear their attackers or are concerned that the law willnot respect their privacy. Employment discrimination against women is pervasive. Trafficking in persons is proscribed by the constitution and criminalized in the penal code, but there have been occasional reports of trafficking for sexual purposes and domestic servitude.