State and politics
Paraguay is a republic of 18 provinces including the
metropolitan district of Asuncion. In June 1992, a new
democratic constitution was adopted based on respect for
human rights following a long-standing military
dictatorship. The President has the executive power and is
elected by direct majority vote by a simple majority for a
term of five years without the possibility of re-election.
He is both head of state and government as well as
commander-in-chief. The legislative power lies with the
National Congress, which consists of the Senate with 45 and
the Chamber of Deputies with 80 members, elected for five
Also see Paraguay Political Reviews.
The highest court of the judiciary is the Supreme Court,
whose nine members are appointed by the president and
approved by Congress. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of PY and its meanings of Paraguay.
Traditionally, power has been with the military and the
large landowners. The country's oldest political party,
Partido Colorado, ANR-PC (Colorado Party ), dominating
the country throughout the second half of the 20th century.
Here, all political influence was gathered and membership in
the party was a requirement for government service.
For 35 years (1954–89), the dictator Alfredo Stroessner
led a brutal regime that persecuted domestic oppositions at
the same time as the country became a refuge for oppressors
from other countries. In the 1980s, however, the party split
as a result of rivalry over who would succeed the aging
Stroessner, who in 1989 was overthrown and driven into
exile. Despite the internal divide, the Colorado Party still
managed to agree on election times and continue to govern
until 2008. After the dictatorship, other groups increased
their influence, including the church and social movements
such as the unions.
In the 2008 presidential election, the opposition
alliance Alianza Patriótica para el Cambio (APC)
finally succeeded in breaking the Colorado Party's 61-year
domination of Paraguayan politics, and its candidate, the
former bishop Fernando Lugo, won by a wide margin. Lugo's
victory was seen as an important step in the country's
long-drawn out democratization process.
Lugo, however, found it difficult to fulfill his
promises, his alliance lacked majority in parliament and
many reforms were halted by the Supreme Court, which was
ruled by members appointed by the Colorado Party under
previous government holdings. In June 2012, Lugo was forced
to resign following a vote of no confidence.
In April 2013, the Colorado Party returned to power when
their candidate Horacio Cartes was elected president. Two of
Carte's first actions were to invite four opposition parties
to a national pact and to order the army to step up its
actions against the guerrilla group Ejército del Pueblo
Paraguayo (EPP) that had been active for several years.
The power of the ruling Colorado Party during the
municipal elections of the subsequent term was shaky. The
party lost big in the municipal elections in 2015. Most
notable was the loss of the mayor's post in the capital
Asunción where the party ruled for 14 years and Mario
Ferreiro (born 1959) from the left coalition Juntos
Podemos ('Together we can') instead of the party's
candidate was elected to the post. The largest opposition
party The True Liberal Radical Party (PLRA) took power in
six of the country's largest cities.
PLRA and Frente Guasú (FG) entered into an
election alliance before the 2018 presidential election to
try to defeat the ruling Colorado Party, which ruled
Paraguay for a total of 70 years.
In the primary elections, controversial Senator Mario
Abdo Benítez was named president of the Colorado Party. The
election was considered to be a direct challenge to
incumbent President Horacio Cartes. PLRA was also fragmented
but managed to agree with FG to elect attorney Efraín Alegre
(born 1963) as the alliance's presidential candidate.
A strong contributing reason for the split in both
parties was that supporters of President Cartes in the
Senate tried to amend the Constitution so that he could be
re-elected in the 2018 presidential election. Following
street protests and attacks on the congress building, the
proposal was withdrawn.
The power of the Colorado party was reinforced in the
presidential election as the party's candidate won by about
46 percent of the vote. See also History.
The legal system in Paraguay is mainly codified. civil
law, trade law and criminal law, both of which are of
Argentine origin. The judiciary consists of different types
of peace judges, general courts, appellate courts and a
supreme court. The death penalty was abolished in 1992; the
last execution took place in 1928.
Heads of State
Presidents after the 1954 coup
||Juan Carlos Wasmosy
||Raúl Cubas Grau
||Luis González Macchi
||Nicanor Duarte Frutos
||Mario Abdo Benítez