Voters will choose a president and vice president, 45 senators, 80 deputies and the governors of 17 departments. The vote was precipitated by the impeachment of Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop who was laicized upon his election as Paraguay’s president in 2008 and removed from office by the legislature in Jun 2012. Lugo was voted out by Congress over his handling of a land dispute in which 17 people died. The top two presidential candidates are trading accusations of cozying up to drug traffickers and pilfering public funds.
The center-left Liberal Party’s candidate is Efrain Alegre, who served as public works minister under Lugo. His rival Horacio Cartes, a wealthy businessman, of the conservative Colorado Party
The ousted left-wing president likened the move to a coup by the right wing-controlled parliament. Lugo’s 2008 election ended 61 years of rule by the Colorado party. Vice-President Federico Franco was sworn in to replace him.
The two main political parties, Colorado and Liberal, voted in favor of the motion to begin the impeachment trial. The Liberals, part of the ruling coalition, put aside their differences with the Colorados and voted against Lugo.