ASUNCION – Efrain Alegre, the main opposition candidate in Paraguay’s April 22 presidential election, told EFE that, as opposed to the ruling party, the key element in his proposal is to provide the country with a genuine rule of law.
“What is at stake on April 22? Continuity or changing the one-party project that represents the past and the old discourse of (late dictator Alfredo) Stroessner, which has left Paraguay divided in two categories, with first-class and second-class citizens,” he said.
Stroessner governed the poor South American nation from 1954-1989 and his Colorado Party has been the dominant force in Paraguayan politics for seven decades.
Alegre, 55, is head of the Liberal Party and is running as the candidate of the Ganar alliance, which also includes the leftist Frente Guasu and several minor parties.
Colorado Party standard-bearer Mario Abdo Benitez is seen as the favorite to win.
“The alliance contemplates a diverse and inclusive Paraguay, taking a step toward development and genuinely changing the control that Cartes’s administration has established through the mafia and corruption,” Alegre said, referring to incumbent Horacio Cartes, of the Colorado Party.
He explained that the political alternative he represents can strengthen “the rule of institutions in Paraguay, carry out a reform of the courts to offer legal certainty” and transform Paraguay into a “responsible and reliable country that is attractive for investments.”
“According to economists, no investments will come without legal certainty. When we met with ambassadors from the European Union, they told us that Paraguay was an attractive place to invest,” but that the country “lacked legal certainty,” he said.
Alegre backed the idea of convening a constituent assembly with the power to eliminate corruption in the legal system.
“We have to create a judiciary based on career judges to be able to shield it from partisan politics and from the mafia and corruption that control our country,” he said.
Alegre added that he did not believe in the polls showing Abdo Benitez in the lead and he called on Paraguayans to vote “with the conviction that this is a unique opportunity for change.”