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  • Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez gestures as he meets supporters in Asuncion, Paraguay, August 13, 2019.

    Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez gestures as he meets supporters in Asuncion, Paraguay, August 13, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 August 2019

According to a survey by radio station, Primero de Marzo, 54.9% of respondents qualified Abdo’s government as “bad or very bad.”

Paraguay’s president, Mario Abdo, has reached his first year in office with a 69 percent disapproval rating amid a lasting political crisis and a significant economic slowdown, according to a survey published Wednesday.

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The survey found that 69.3 percent of respondents among the 1,200 people polled thought the president’s management was “bad or very bad,” compared with 30.7 percent who considered it “good or very good.”

For respondents who declared themselves members of the president’s party, the disapproval rating was 64.8 percent.

Abdo, who was elected by the conservative Colorado Party in April 2018 with 46 percent of the vote, narrowly avoided an impeachment vote at the start of the month over the signing of an energy pact with Brazil that opposition lawmakers said went against the country’s sovereignty.

Local media revealed last week that Jose Rodriguez, the vice president's legal advisor, negotiated the exclusion of a clause to benefit Leros Comercializadora, a Brazilian company linked to the family of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Abdo, who has a close relationship with Bolsonaro, canceled and apologized for the deal, which related to the giant Itaipu hydroelectric plant that straddles the two countries and would have cost Paraguay around US$200 million.

Opposition parties have called for public protests to put further pressure on Abdo’s government, and opposition lawmakers have submitted a request to open a political trial against the vice president and the tax minister over the energy deal.

On Monday night, members of the party Paraguay Pyahurã (PPP) held a sit-in in front of the President's house, holding banners that read "country sell-out." They repeated the mobilization on Tuesday morning in front of the vice president's house.

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