NEW YORK – President Horacio Cartes, who saw his bid to amend Paraguay’s constitution to allow presidential re-election thwarted by public backlash, told EFE that his country will eventually abandon the one-term limit for the head of state.
“Now is not the time, but it’s going to be an obligatory issue. We’re going to have to talk about constitutional reform or amendment,” he said while in New York for the opening of the UN General Assembly.
Earlier this year, Cartes’ rightist Colorado Party formed an alliance of convenience with the leftist Guasu Front to pass an initiative allowing presidential re-election.
The measure’s passage during a closed-door session of the Senate held outside the capitol spurred protests that left one opposition activist dead, forcing Cartes and the senators who supported the bill to withdraw the initiative.
“We couldn’t find anything more democratic than the amendment” to let voters decide whether a president should get another term, Cartes told EFE. “But we ran into very hostile positions.”
Cartes said that Paraguay’s current constitution, enacted in 1992 following the end of the 1954-1989 Stroessner dictatorship, was written with an eye on the past.
“Fate commanded” that a decision on permitting presidential re-election would have to wait for the future, he said.
“What we have now is five years, without possibility of re-election, neither immediately nor alternately, and there will be a discussion that I think is fair and necessary,” he said.
Cartes, a businessman who became Paraguay’s president in August 2013, said he will run for a seat in the Senate on a platform of continuing what he called “a model of transparency and mutual respect among the branches of government.”