ASUNCION – The main candidates for Paraguay’s presidency, Mario Abdo Benitez with the governing Colorado Party and Efrain Alegre with the opposition liberal Win Alliance, signed on Monday a document promising to take part in the election debate on April 15, a week before the election.
Abdo Benitez signed first at the Colorado Party headquarters and said that the debate will be “an opportunity for Paraguayans to more fully get to know the candidates who are fighting today to lead the (country) for the next five years.”
He said that his campaign team decided that he should participate in the debate organized by the Development in Democracy (Dende) association so that he could discuss the main elements of the campaign.
He also explained his refusal to consider other debate proposals, saying that “often it is impossible to fulfill so many requests for debates” in an election campaign, both from the media and civil organizations.
Later in the day, Alegre welcomed Dende chief Alberto Acosta to the headquarters of the Win Alliance, emphasizing the differences between his campaign and that of Abdo Benitez and saying that he and his rival could talk and listen to each other face to face in the debate.
“I think that this will be a much more open and entertaining debate than the earlier one. We’re going to talk about certain important issues,” he said.
The issues to be placed on the table at the upcoming debate will be governability and institutions, economic development, social inclusion, health education and children’s issues, production and the environment, as well as physical and legal security.
The debate will be held at the Paraguayan Central Bank in Asuncion at 8:00 pm Sunday, April 15, and will last two hours, during which the candidates will respond to questions and explain their proposals.
The debate will be broadcast live on local television channels, cable TV and radio and will also be available for viewing on the Internet for Paraguayans living abroad.
Four million Paraguayans are eligible to vote in the April 22 presidential election, and a recent survey by the daily ABC Color found that Abdo Benitez currently holds a 30-point advantage over Alegre.