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  • Opposition parties in Paraguay condemned the

    Opposition parties in Paraguay condemned the "impunity pact that saved the President from being impeached.”  | Photo: EFE

Published 21 August 2019

The vote, dubbed the 'impunity pact', was made as ruling conservatives fear new elections when the Colorado Party has record-low approval levels, say opposition members.

Paraguay’s House of Representatives rejected Tuesday the request for a political trial to impeach President Mario Abdo, Vice President Hugo Velazquez and Finance Minister Benigno Lopez for corruption. 

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All 43 legislators from the conservative right-wing coalition led by the ruling Colorado party voted down the request, while there were 36 votes in favor of impeachment from opposition parties. One member of the house abstained from the critical vote. Another request for impeachment of Paraguay's highest-ranking officials cannot be processed for at least a year, unless made on new grounds.   

Those who voted to not impeach justified the decision saying there was a “lack of evidence” against the three.

The vote was dubbed the “impunity pact” by protesters and opposition lawmakers who say the conservatives in power fear another election at a time when polls show that Colorado Party approval is at its lowest, and Abdo, has 69 percent disapproval rating.

President of Paraguayan Authentic Radical Liberal Party (PLRA), Efrain Alegre, condemned the "impunity pact" to reporters. 

"This weak government without citizen support" had no other options than to lean back on the 43 lawmakers who saved it, he stated. Alegre also sent his congratulations to the deputies who voted for the impeachment.

The request to purge the country’s top officials was promoted by the opposition parties over the signing of an energy pact with Brazil that lawmakers said went against the country’s sovereignty.

Local media revealed earlier this month that Jose Rodriguez, the vice president's legal advisor, negotiated the exclusion of a clause that would benefit Leros Comercializadora, a Brazilian company linked to the family of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro with whom Abdo has close ties.

Abdo canceled the agreement and conditionally apologized for the deal and his handling of the subsequent scanda. “I apologize if I was wrong,” he told a crowd in early August. The mega-hydroelectric plant in Itaipu that straddles the two countries and would have cost Paraguay around US$200 million.

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