Paraguay: Santiago Peña Wins Election

    Photo: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • Economist and former finance minister under Pres. Horacio Cartes, Santiago Peña, has won Paraguay's general election, continuing the conservative Colorado Party's seven-decade-long reign. He defeated Efrain Alegrem of the left-wing Concertacion coalition by 15 percentage points.

    • The Concertacion coalition received roughly 27.5% of the vote after having led in opinion polls, with the left-wing loss going against the recent trend of anti-incumbency, left-wing wins in Latin America.

    The Spin

    Left narrative

    A win for the Colorado Party continues the failed status quo of Paraguay. After its 35-year dictatorship, the Colorado Party — which played a role in the nation's authoritarian past — took power and has been bankrolling its government through the personal wealth of Horacio Cartes. Though the two campaigns differed on little other than the Taiwan issue, it's likely that Peña will continue to be beholden to the corrupt system held in place since 1989.

    Right narrative

    Though the world had some difficulty with the Cartes presidency, Peña is a fresh face with an eagerness to build Paraguay's standing in the world. This is why the US, as well as neighbors like Brazil, congratulated the winner and told him they look forward to working with him. Peña offered similar economic promises to Alegrem, and the Taiwan issue shouldn't be that controversial given its 60-year relationship with Paraguay and shared democratic principles.

    Political split



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