Paraguay prepares for an historic election Sunday that could see former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo end the ruling right-wing Colorado party's 61 years in power. S. Carpentier, JF Maurel report from Paraguay.
Front-runner Fernando Lugo rejected the idea that violence could break out on election day, and President Nicanor Duarte Frutos also struck a moderate tone on Friday after saying earlier in the week that foreign “agitators” backing
“I don’t believe in this possible violent scenario,”
A former Roman Catholic bishop,
He is in a close race with ruling Colorado Party candidate Blanca Ovelar—the first woman to run for president of
“Many people see a change in
Duarte Frutos, who is backing his former education minister Ovelar, told reporters: “No one should stay at home out of fear. We are here to fully guarantee everyone’s right to vote.”
However, he also said the government cannot control individual actions. “I can’t say for certain that there will be no disorder or abuses,” the president said.
Many ordinary Paraguayans fear the Colorado Party could buy votes or bribe election officials to remain in power, as it has been accused of doing in the past.
Whoever wins the most votes on Sunday will be the president and there will be no second round of balloting.
Regarding the possibility of fraud,
The head of the Organization of American States’ election monitoring team said people were understandably nervous.
“Having one party in government for more than 60 years creates concern and unease among many people, because this is perhaps the first time that parties could possibly alternate in power,” OAS mission chief Maria Emma Mejia told reporters.
Date created : 2008-04-19