The deputies of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party (PLRA) decided to enter this Tuesday (9) with a request for political judgment to dismiss the President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez.
The process is similar to the impeachment mechanism in Brazil – but it can happen much faster if the majority in Congress is in favor of impeachment.
The parliamentarians’ movement takes place following protests that have taken to the streets mainly in Asunción against the government’s conduct of the coronavirus pandemic.
If removed from office, the center-right president, an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro in Mercosur, will be the first leader to fall in the wake of the health crisis.
The country was controlling the spread of the virus with the imposition of restrictive measures, but since January the infection curve has started to rise. Daily records of new cases have surpassed 1,000 since February 15 – in the early months of the pandemic, that number did not reach 100.
Last week, Paraguay also identified the presence of the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus.
Over the weekend, protests gathered in large numbers, security forces were suppressed and at least 20 people were injured.
For the demand for political judgment against Benítez to be accepted, 53 votes are needed – PLRA, which is expected to initiate the process, has 29 MPs.
The majority party in Congress is Colorado, the same as Abdo Benítez. Most of the legend, however, is aligned with former President Horacio Cartes, reunited in current Honor Colorado. For now, this group does not support impeachment, and MPs have said they will not be present at Tuesday’s session.
“We know we don’t have the votes. But the game cannot be taken for granted, “PLRA leader, former senator and former presidential candidate, Folha Efraín Alegre told Folha Efraín Alegre.” If we are fragile in Congress, the population is strong in the streets and will oblige Cartes to change your mind. . This will force you to stop supporting Abdo Benítez.
For Alegre, the power of Cartes “is great and today his will prevails, but we must not forget that the population also places limits on him, as happened with the re-election”.
He evokes the episode of March 2017, when Cartes tried to approve, only with his parliamentarians, a constitutional amendment that would allow him to stand for election. The result was that the demonstrators burned part of Congress in a violent demonstration that left one dead.
“His power is great, but it comes from money, from buying everyone with what they earn from their illicit activities, like smuggling cigarettes. Cartes is interested in having Abdo Benítez in the fragile position because he can handle him. And Abdo Benítez has, with that, impunity, ”says Alegre.
The businessman and former president owns one of the region’s main cigarette factories and faces export charges, also illegal, across the porous border with Brazil.
Alegre also adds that the Paraguayan crisis could be resolved by Brazil, if there was political will. “For Bolsonaro, it is a big problem to have an agreement with Abdo Benítez who is submitted on the use of the Itaipu hydroelectric plant. The current agreement gives Brazil many advantages. Another president could change that. So of course Bolsonaro should like Abdo Benítez. “
The MP also accuses Cartes of relying on the illegal cigarette trade across the Brazilian border to “pay all those MPs who maintain their power.” “So, of course, Brazil must do and can help change our democracy,” he said.
On Monday evening (8), when demonstrators began to arrive near Congress in the Paraguayan capital, they found it surrounded by several blocks. The police prevented people from approaching the building.
There was a meeting between the caracas: the groups calling for the resignation of Abdo Benítez crossed the march of women, who carried flags calling for the liberation of abortion and an end to gender violence.
The sound of horns echoed throughout the city center.
The women also carried signs calling for the president’s departure. “Marito, basura, your sos the dictatorship” (Marito, trash, you are the dictatorship) was one of the war cries.
During this time, the trade closed the metal doors of the stores. Some without paying attention to the hum of the demonstrations, others supporting the demonstrators with shouts and raised arms.