ASUNCION – Paraguayan political parties and civil society organizations met Wednesday to begin a series of discussions planned by the government regarding the establishment of a possible electoral reform.
Interior Minister Juan Ernesto Villamayor gave start to the first day of discussions, during which the participating parties have highlighted the need to carry out the electoral reform before the 2020 municipal elections.
Delegates from the main opposition Liberal Party addressed the importance of establishing an electronic voting system, as well as campaign finance controls.
The left-leaning Guasu Front, which allied itself with the Liberal Party in last April’s general election, insisted on the need to carry out a structural electoral reform that includes the resignation or impeachment of the members of the country’s Superior Court of Electoral Justice (TSJE).
According to the Guasu Front, the current “members of the TSJE do not offer even the minimal guarantees of a clean and transparent electoral process.”
Oppositions delegates also highlighted the importance of establishing efficient campaign finance controls, an issue that has taken center stage in Paraguay after a police operation last week against a drug-trafficking organization led to 30 people being charged, including Ulises Quintana, a lawmaker with the ruling Colorado Party.
During his opening speech, Villamayor said that the government’s role is to encourage a “debate of ideas” and listen to proposals from the different parties, while inviting delegates to form working tables on specific issues to make progress ahead of the next meeting, set for October.
An election observer mission from the European Union said after the April ballot that Paraguay’s electoral system operates in a “context of institutional weakness.”