Paraguay is one of the few countries that has official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The future president has said that he will keep the relations unchanged.
The candidate of the ruling party declared himself the winner of the presidential elections held in Paraguay on Sunday Santiago Peña.
Peña, the 44-year-old candidate from the right-wing party Colorado, received more than 42 percent of the vote. In Paraguay’s one-round presidential election, the candidate with the most votes wins.
– We have a lot to do in front of us with the economic stagnation and public finance deficit of the last few years, Peña said in his victory speech.
The candidate of the left-center coalition that challenged Peña of Efraín Alegre the vote pool remained at around 27.5 percent, even though Alegre was narrowly ahead in support polls conducted before the elections.
Algere conceded defeat when a few percent of the votes were still to be counted.
– Our effort was not enough, Alegre said about the election result.
During the elections, topics of discussion have been, among other things, the candidates’ attitude towards Taiwan.
Paraguay is one of the few countries that has official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Alegre hoped to break off diplomatic relations so that relations with China would improve and Paraguayan agricultural products could be exported more widely to China. Peña has said that he will keep relations with Taiwan unchanged.
Peña thanked the ex-president, who is under US sanctions
Peña has previously worked as an economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as a professor of economic policy at the Catholic University of Asunción, and as the Minister of Finance of Paraguay. He was able to keep his party in power despite numerous corruption charges against his party members.
Peña has been described as a technocrat with a brilliant academic career but little political experience.
In his victory speech, Peña expressed his gratitude to his mentor To Horacio Cartes, who is the current chairman of the Colorado Party. Cartes was Paraguay’s president from 2013 to 2018, when Peña served as finance minister.
The United States imposed sanctions on Cartes in January over alleged systematic corruption.
The Colorado party has ruled Paraguay to almost the same extent since 1947. The party also served as the dictator of Paraguay along with the armed forces by Alfredo Stroessner as the second pillar of power. Stroessner was ousted in 1989, after which the country underwent democratic reforms in the 1990s.
Sources: Reuters, AFP