POLITICS | General elections officially called
. On 21 August Paraguay’s supreme electoral tribunal (TSJE) officially called general elections for 21 April 2013. As well as electing a president, vice-president, 80 national deputies, 45 national senators and 17 governors, the 3.4m registered Paraguayan voters will pick 18 representatives for the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) parliament. Paraguay was suspended from Mercosur and the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), both of which found that the recent impeachment of Fernando Lugo (2008-2012) was a “breach in democratic order” in Paraguay and hold that the country could only re-join the bloc after the staging of democratic elections. The presidents of the three government branches: President Federico Franco, president of congress, Jorge Oviedo Matto, and supreme court president, Víctor Nuñez were all present at the TSJE for the announcement. Franco remarked that “there were insinuations that this government would not organise elections in April, that it had intentions to push them back to remain in power for longer, but today we have showed that the democratic process begun in 1989 will progress and strengthen itself”. Franco had promised that he would respect Paraguay’s electoral schedule and hold elections in April in order to hand over power in August after he completes Lugo’s five-year term.
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