The decision is related to the president's intention to remain in power from the legislative
Horacio Cartes, President of Paraguay from 2013 to 2018, officially ends his term on August 15 of this year, when he will hand over the presidency to Mario Abdo Benítez of the Colorado Party. Benítez was elected last April. However, on Monday May 28, Cartes submitted his resignation, awaiting the approval of the Paraguayan legislature before June 30.
What is behind the resignation of Horacio Cartes?
The resignation of President Horacio Cartes today, far from representing a political crisis in the country, is a political move to perpetuate himself in the national political scene. According to the Constitution of Paraguay, there is no re-election, so the Cartes political life would end this year.
However, this is not entirely true, because Article 189 of the Paraguayan Constitution states that: "The former presidents of the Republic, democratically elected, will be life senators of the Nation, unless they have been impeached and found guilty They will not integrate the quorum. They will have a voice but not a vote". In this South American country, only former President Fernando Lugo has been able to become an active Senator of the Republic, and this is due to the fact that he did not finish his term when he was dismissed in 2012.
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Cartes seems to want to perpetuate himself in Paraguayan politics, as the Colorado Party has done for seven decades. For this, and taking into account the impossibility of a re-election, he has decided to stand for the position of active Senator in the past votes of April, after a controversial decision of the Court that allowed him to do so. The problem comes now, because in order to be sworn in as Senator, Cartes must leave office before June 30.
His resignation would leave the command of the presidency to Alicia Pucheta, who was named Vice-President on May 8, and who would govern until August 15 when Mario Abdo Benitez should rise to power. Pucheta would become the first woman to exercise the office of President in Paraguay, although she has been strongly criticized for the reasons that lead to her appointment. As a member of the Supreme Court of Paraguay, Alicia Pucheta favored the political moves of Horacio Cartes to be able to present himself as a Senator in the last elections.
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Parliament does not let Horacio Cartes resign
However, on May 30, the Paraguayan Congress did not allow the resignation of Horacio Cartes to be effective, since he did not obtain the minimum quorum needed to discuss the measure. Of the 23 senators and 41 deputies needed, only 13 senators and 50 deputies showed up. This is because, not only the opposition has criticized the intention of Cartes to perpetuate himself in national politics, but also a faction of the Colorado Party is opposed to this measure.
Anyway, Horacio Cartes and his supporters have until June 29 to get their resignation accepted and be named president Alicia Pucheta, so it is expected that more political movements are made during the next days.
Latin American Post | Laura Delgado
Translated from “¿La renuncia de Horacio Cartes es una jugada política para mantenerse en el poder?”