Paraguay's Lugo To Run for Presidency Again Despite Obstacles
Paraguay's only leftist president in history, Fernando Lugo, said he was “fed up” with the delayed constitutional reform meant to allow former presidents to run again for office, and that he planned to present his candidacy regardless of whether the reform was passed.
“As for me, the (amendment) is already dead, out of date. It does not make sense anymore,” he said, yet admitting that the reform was still being negotiated with his party's representatives Sixto Pereira and Carlos Filizzola.
“The Guasu Front is not just one person, it's a team. There are many differences, we manage them,” he added. “Citizens agree with me and are fed up as well.”
“Lugo's candidacy never depended on the reform. We are going to follow our path. I am going to run,” he affirmed, even though the electoral tribunal recently barred him from running.
The TSJE electoral tribunal barred Lugo from running for president in 2018, which according to his attorneys signifies that he is being "persecuted politically."
In February, the TSJE made that decision invoking the constitution on a request from the ruling Colorado Party filed last November, accusing Lugo of illegally campaigning for the 2018 elections.
According to Lugo's lawyers, the constitution bans the reelection of a president or vice president in office, but not for those who held that position in the past like Lugo, who was elected president in 2008 and impeached in 2012 in what many viewed as a parliamentary coup against a leftist leader.
As president, Lugo faced opposition from the powerful political establishment in Paraguay, who impeded his efforts at nearly every turn and conspired to secure his ouster from the beginning of his presidency.
Sectors of the Colorado Party in favor of Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes running for a second term have supported the idea of amending the constitution, which would require approval via a popular referendum.
However, the main opposition sector, the Liberal Party, and Colorado Party dissidents have demanded a longer process to fully validate presidential reelection, delaying longer the amendment procedure.