Paraguay: Deputies reject the Re-Election Amendment

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Source: Resumen Latinoamericano-Última Hora / The Dawn News / April 27, 2017

Deputy Ramón Romero Roa (of the National Republic Association, ANR) / Photo credit: ABC Color

The Deputies Chamber rejected by majority past Wednesday, the polemic amendment project approved on the Senate. In this way, the document passes to archive and can not be treated for a year.

After the resignation of President Horacio Cartes to the idea of re election, the officialist deputies, along with Lugo’s and Llano’s deputies, reject the polemic and irregular project sent by the Senator’s Chamber.

The document was treated as the first task of the day, after a free debate of 5 minutes per orator.

Before the voting, deputy Bernardo Villalba, president of the Legislation Commission, said that the discussion about re election is not installed and that it will be kept on debate until the population decides if they want it or not. The deputy also defended the irregular treatment of the project at the Senate.

Another deputy that expressed his support towards the amendment was Clemente Barrios, who also celebrated Cartes’ resignation to re election with a “peace” purpose. He affirmed that this tool should be incorporated at some point and sustained that the amendment is totally legal.

Before the treatment, the Legislation Commission of the Chamber emitted two rulings, one in favour and one against. The members of the Constitutional Matters Commission also ruled their rejection but in an unanimous voting.

Óscar Tuma also defended the amendment and qualified it as an “ultra democratic” tool that should be applied in several cases.

A minority of the Red Party deputies sustained during the debate their speech in favour of the amendment, arguing that Paraguay should advance towards more modern electoral model, similar to others at the region; but at the end, they withdraw their support.

Finally it was the dissenting Red party Deputy Cinthia Tarragó who asked for the closure of the debate to pass on to voting.

With 78 votes in favour and one abstention, the constitutional amendment project that was approved at the irregular session of 25 senators, remained unsuccessful and postponed.

In this way, after the citizen pressure expressed in the mobilizations against the amendment, the Church’s petition to desist to personal interests and the United States recommendation to respect the Constitution, the sectors that were in favour desisted to the irregular project that pretend to install Fernando Lugo and Horacio Cartes as possible candidates for the 2018 elections.

The project lost power after the announcement made by president Cartes in April 17, when he communicated his decision not present himself for a re election.

The news was celebrated with fireworks, shouts and hugs between the protestors that were concentrated at the Park “Las Armas” in front of the National Congress.

The most exciting moment was the hug between the parent of the young man, Rodrigo Quintana, liberal activist murdered by the police and considered a martyr of democracy.

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