Paraguay, rocked two months ago by the ouster of its president Fernando Lugo, will hold general elections in April 2013, the country’s superior court of electoral justice said. “Some 3.5 million people are registered to vote,” in the April 21, 2013 polls, court head Alberto Ramirez said during a ceremony attended by President Federico Franco, who came to power in June after Congress sent Lugo packing. “It has been rumored that this government would not organize elections, or that it intended to delay them to stay in power for a longer time,” Franco said. “The process will be completed when the new president takes office on August 15,” 2013, said Franco, pledging to step down on that date.
Congress had accused Lugo, a leftist, of “improperly fulfilling his duties” in connection with a deadly land dispute, and quickly moved to remove him from office. His ouster was widely criticized by other Latin American leaders, who say the president did not have time to mount a proper defense. Paraguay was subsequently suspended from the Mercosur regional trading bloc and Unasur.