Santiago Peña, a former economist, is the next president of Paraguay
Punits predicted tight race. In the end, it wasn’t even close. Santiago Peña, a 44-year-old former finance minister and economist at the IMF, he took almost 43% of the votes in the presidential election of Paraguay on April 30. Mr. Peña comes from the conservative Colorado party that currently governs the country. By the time his five-year term, which begins on August 15, is over, the Colorados will have held power for 75 out of the last 80 years.
Mr Peña’s plans, although vague, were clearly popular with voters. “He says he’s going to support young people who want to get ahead, who want to achieve their dreams,” says Gabriel González, a 28-year-old builder heading to a polling station in Remansito, suburb of Asunción, capital. Advisers to Mr. Peña say that a full manifesto will be prepared soon. Paraguay’s ultra-low tax rates and stable macroeconomic policies may not change.
Second place was Efraín Alegre, a lawyer and former congressman. He was in charge of a ruthless and lazy coalition. Mr. Alegre had a lot of ideas, including locking up crooked politicians in a new prison in the mosquito outbreak. Others would be further abducted. Mr. Alegre suggested that he would extradite Horacio Cartes – president of Paraguay between 2013 and 2018 and head of the Colorado Party – to the United States. In January US The government accused Mr. Cartes of engaging in “rampant corruption” and banned American companies from doing business with him. No additional application or formal charges were made. Mr. Cartes denies all the allegations.
The biggest concern was Paraguayo Cubas, who received 23% of the vote and divided the opposition. A nationalist, anti-corruption brand, Mr. Cubas was ousted from his seat in 2019 after fighting with his colleagues. Before that, “Payo”, as he is known, was infamous for attacking a judge with his belt before leaving the judge’s office. He said he would close Congress, rule with the army and send dishonest officers before firing crews. His movement, National Crusade, saw five senators elected, including one who is currently in prison. Mr Cubas’ supporters took to the streets after the election results were announced, setting off fireworks outside the electoral authority, lit by their leader, who told them to “die if necessary”. At the same time the Colorado Party lives. ■