ASUNCION – A total of 80 lawmakers were sworn in Saturday to Paraguay’s lower house after being elected last April, and are now waiting to determine which will be the house speaker, with the majority Colorado Party divided into two parts that negotiate separately.
The speaker of the lower house until this Saturday, Colorado member Pedro Alliana, who has been elected for another five years as a lawmaker, was the first to be sworn in, followed by the rest of the legislators.
Reelected along with Alliana, who is also the conservative Colorado Party leader, were another 49 lawmakers, while 30 more are beginning their first term in the lower house.
Following the swearing-in ceremony, the lawmakers, who will remain in office until 2023, started the session in which they will establish the new legislative committees.
The ruling Colorado Party, with a majority in the house, refrained from forming a single force following the breakdown of negotiations between Honor Colorado, the sector of President Horacio Cartes, and the Colorado Añetete sector of President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez.
Members of Honor Colorado spoke again Saturday about that falling-out and about working toward an agreement with a sector of the opposition, such as the Liberal Party, in order to occupy the speaker’s position in the lower house.
After that session, the swearing-in of 45 members of the new Senate is planned for Saturday afternoon. The upper house must also form its legislative committees.
Senate leader Fernando Lugo decided Thursday to exclude from the swearing-in ceremony the senators-elect Cartes and former President Nicanor Duarte (2003-2008), both of the Colorado Party.
However, this Friday the Electoral Court allowed the appeal entered by Duarte against Lugo’s decree, so he is expected to be sworn in.
Not so for Cartes, since his resignation from the presidency in May was blocked by Congress, which means his swearing-in to the Senate will be barred this Saturday for incompatibility of functions, since he will continue to be the country’s president until Aug. 15, when Abdo Benitez will take office.