ASUNCION – Conservative Mario Abdo Benitez was proclaimed president-elect of Paraguay this Friday at a ceremony in which he promised a head-on fight against corruption and impunity, and at which the 45 senators voted into office on April 22 were also proclaimed, including the current president, Horacio Cartes.
“I want to unite the people in a head-on fight against impunity, which is the biggest cancer our Paraguay is suffering. Without impunity, the days of corruption are numbered,” Abdo Benitez said in the Banco Central auditorium.
Cartes, also of the Colorado Party, presided over the proclamation act as head of state, accompanied by Vice President Alicia Pucheta.
Cartes is expected to resign next week and be sworn-in as senator on July 1 so his positions don’t overlap, since his term as president officially ends on August 15, when Abdo Benitez will assume the presidency.
Also proclaimed besides Abdo Benitez was the next vice president, Hugo Velazquez, and as senator-elect a former president of the country, Nicanor Duarte of the Colorado Party.
In his address, Abdo Benitez vowed to govern according to the principles of the Colorado Party, but noted that he will do so for all Paraguayans without distinction of beliefs or political parties.
“I take these results as a recognition of disparity and dissent...In a democracy, nobody wins everything, nobody loses everything. In a democracy, what is won is transitory and what is lost will be recovered,” he said.
The Colorado Party won 17 seats in the upper house, with Cartes first on the list of senators of that party, while the Liberal Party took 13 seats.
In the lower house, the Colorado Party took 42 seats out of a total of 80, with the rest distributed among the Liberal Party and other opposition groups.