Paraguay’s lower house of Congress on Wednesday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed for presidential re-election, ending a month-long political crisis that aroused violent protests. Under the measure, center-right President Horacio Cartes could have sought re-election in 2018. But last week, the former soft drinks and tobacco mogul who took office in 2013 said he would not run regardless of whether the amendment was approved.
Protesters set fire to Congress on March 31 after the Senate secretly voted in favor of the amendment. Police later stormed an opposition political party’s headquarters and killed a protester.
Re-election is a sensitive subject in Paraguay, a landlocked South American country where memories still abound of a brutal 35-year dictatorship that fell in 1989. The constitution has prohibited re-election since it was passed in 1992.