Saturday, Dec 02, 2023

Paraguay’s conservatives score big election win, defusing Taiwan fears

Paraguay’s conservatives score big election win, defusing Taiwan fears

Paraguay’s ruling candidate Santiago Pena, 44, scored a big win in the country’s presidential election on Sunday, tightening the conservative Colorado Party’s political grip in the country and defusing fears about the end of diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Pena, who has pledged to maintain Paraguay’s long-standing Taiwan relations, had 42.7 percent of the vote with over 99 percent of ballots counted, a more than 15-point lead over center-left rival Efrain Alegre, who has argued for switching allegiance to China.

“Thank you for this Colorado victory, thank you for this Paraguayan victory,” Pena said in a speech. Alegre acknowledged the result. Current President Mario Abdo congratulated Pena as “president-elect,” as did the leaders of Brazil and Argentina.

Colorado and right-wing party candidates also performed strongly in congressional elections and governor races, with some provinces recording a historic Colorado majority over opposition rivals.

The election result leaves Pena facing a challenge to rev up Paraguay’s farm-driven economy, shrink a major fiscal deficit and navigate rising pressures from soy and beef producers to ditch Taiwan in favor of China and its huge markets.

“We have a lot to do, after the last years of economic stagnation, of fiscal deficit, the task that awaits us is not for a single person or for a party,” Pena said in his victory speech, calling for “unity and consensus.”

It also underscores the dominance of the Colorado Party, which has ruled for all by five of the last 75 years and has a fierce campaign machine, despite rising discontent from some voters over the slowing economy and corruption allegations.

“Once a Colorado always a Colorado,” said Eugenio Senturion, 65, as he voted on Sunday at his local polling station in the area of Jara, Asuncion.

Dry weather helped voter turn-out, analysts said, with queues to cast ballots long after polling stations were formally meant to close at 4 p.m. (2000 GMT).

“All day we’ve observed high levels of participation,” an observer for the Organization of American States (OAS) electoral mission said.

Not all voters were happy, however, reflected in a larger-than-expected share for populist Paraguayo Cubas who had almost 23 percent of the vote in third place, reflecting wider support for anti-establishment candidates around Latin America.

“I’m worried about crime. All the candidates are the same for me,” said 34-year-old mother of three, Maria Jose Rodas, as a busload of voters arrived at the inner-city polling station. “Nothing will change.”

At the Mariscal Francisco Solano López school in the capital Asuncion, Ramona Oddone was one of the first in line to cast her ballot and was hopeful for a new direction.

“Look at all the young people taking part — that shows people want change,” the 79-year-old retired schoolteacher told Reuters. “They need jobs and I need a better pension.”

The Colorado Party has dominated politics in the landlocked South American country since the 1950s. But its popularity has been hit by a slowing economy and graft allegations.

The build-up to the election has been dominated by the economy, corruption allegations and the candidates’ views on Taiwan. Paraguay is one of only 13 nations to maintain formal diplomatic ties with the democratically governed island that China views as its territory.

Taiwan’s ambassador in Asuncion offered his congratulations to Pena on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Based on shared values such as democracy and freedom and the traditional friendship between the two countries, our country will continue to deepen cooperation and exchanges with the new government of Paraguay,” the ministry said.

Alegre had criticized those ties, which have made it hard to sell soy and beef to China, a major global buyer. Pena had said he would maintain ties with Taiwan.

Alegre on Sunday warned of reports of voter obstruction in the north of the country and said he would not “give in” to attempts to prevent citizen participation.

Fiorella Moreno, 23, who sells ice cream, felt that none of the candidates offered hope to her generation.

“I didn’t want to vote, I feel everything is in decline,” she said. “But not voting makes me part of the problem.”

Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
Swedish Embassy in Baghdad Engulfed in Flames Amidst a Firestorm of Protests
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
An Ominous Shift in Warfare: Western Powers Risk War Crimes and Violate International Norms with Cluster Bomb Supply to Ukraine
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner