Paraguay Government and Politics

State and politics

Paraguay Country Flag

Reference: Paraguay Flag Meaning


According to, 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 years.

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

1954-89 Alfredo Stroessner
1989-93 Andrés Rodriguez
1993-98 Juan Carlos Wasmosy
1998-99 Raúl Cubas Grau
1999-2003 Luis González Macchi
2003-08 Nicanor Duarte Frutos
2008-12 Fernando Lugo
2012-13 Federico Franco
2013-18 Horacio Cartes
2018- Mario Abdo Benítez

Paraguay Head of Government

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