After Lugo Ouster, Paraguayan Oligarchs Implement Voter Suppression Laws

Prensa Latina

The Paraguayan government gave its final support today to the controversial congressional resolution that denies Paraguayans a direct vote in the 2013 elections, a move which has sparked huge demonstrations in recent months by Paraguayans angered by the measure.

Following a meeting held between Federico Franco, who took over as president of the Republic from the deposed president, Fernando Lugo, and the head of the Electoral Supreme Court, Alberto Ramirez, it was confirmed that the aforementioned regulation is now effective and direct elections will be applied only in 2015.

The measure concerns the comprehensive voting lists that force voters to choose candidates from only one party, depriving them of the right to choose specific candidates from any party, to either house in the Congress.

Actually, this kind of election system is defended by traditional parties and their associated economic interests, because it guarantees the election of assorted electoral bosses who control voting and favored parties.

The possibility of losing that personal privilege which greatly impacts the control of Parliament by certain political groups, among other benefits, is the reason for permanent resistance to change in the electoral system.

President Lugo, while in government, passed a law removing the voting lists and facilitating the direct vote of the citizenry, but the opposition majority in Parliament prevented its implementation in the 2013 April elections, citing lack of conditions.

This provoked large demonstrations in front of the Capitol building which even led to clashes between the population and the police and forcing lawmakers to flee legislative headquarters through back doors.

After the rapid impeachment of Lugo, the electoral regulation was revived, Franco ratified it and the popular reaction to that decision remains to be seen.

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