RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The president, Mario Abdo Benítez, was one of the many Paraguayan affiliates who voted this Sunday in the party elections that will determine the candidates for the municipal elections of October 10, a process that for the first time will be held with unblocked lists and electronic voting machines.
Abdo Benítez’s Colorado Party is the one with the largest number of pre-candidates and qualified polling stations and the largest census, close to two and a half million, according to the data of the centenary party.
The other most important party, the Liberal Party, the largest of the opposition, elects, besides the pre-candidates for the municipal elections, its board of directors, and the presidency, held by Efraín Alegre, a position disputed, among others, by Senator Salyn Buzarquis.
For the Liberal Party, this fight is the prelude to the presidential elections of 2023, with a possible renewal of Alegre, who lost the 2018 elections to Abdo Benítez, or his replacement by Buzarquis or another sector leader.
As for the ruling party, it goes to the polls divided in Asunción, the country’s capital, where the current mayor, Óscar Rodríguez, and Daniel Centurión are running for mayor in October.
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Rodríguez has the support of the former president and businessman Horacio Cartes (2013-2018), while Centurión is backed by the current of Abdo Benítez, to whom he was a presidential advisor.
In other cities and districts, both sectors are running in a coalition.
In total, 51,913 pre-candidates are seeking to run as councilors for their respective parties and movements in the municipal elections and 1,472 for mayoral offices, according to data from the Superior Court of Electoral Justice (TSJE).
In addition, the number of affiliates aspiring to be part of the parties’ boards of directors amounts to 35,199.
The elections are also the first to be held in Paraguay in a pandemic situation, which has left more than 11,000 deaths.
The process is taking place while the vaccination campaign continues this Sunday in the country of some seven million inhabitants.
The TSJE, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, implemented a health protocol with recommendations such as going to vote alone and avoiding crowds to minimize the risk of contagion.
Voting will end around 17.00 local time (21.GMT), and the first results, the party candidacies to the mayoralties, will be known through the System of Transmission of Preliminary Electoral Results (TREP).
The Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations (Uniore) supervises the elections and will issue a report at the end of the elections.
The internal and municipal elections were scheduled for November last year but were postponed due to the pandemic.