ASUNCION – Advisers of Paraguayan ex-President Fernando Lugo entered before the Supreme Court on Monday a case of unconstitutionality against the ruling of the TSJE electoral tribunal, which barred him from running for president in 2018, which, according to his attorneys, signifies that he is being “politically persecuted.”
The TSJE made that decision this month based on the constitution, which bans presidential reelection, and after the case presented last November by the ruling Colorado Party, which accused Lugo of campaigning for the 2018 elections.
Marcos Fariña, one of Lugo’s attorneys, told reporters that the TSJE assumed an authority that is “banned by the constitution,” since the complaint (by the Colorado Party) constituted “wrongful propaganda.”
“Truth to tell, Sen. Lugo is politically persecuted,” Fariña told a press conference at the Palace of Justice in Asuncion, adding that members of the TSJE are “puppets of the executive branch.”
He said the legal team working for Lugo, currently a senator for the Guasu Front, will comply with the TSJE’s decision, while maintaining that the former president “is eligible to run for president of the republic” in the next presidential elections.
According to Fariña, the constitution bans the reelection of a president or vice president in office, but not for those who held that position in the past like Lugo, who was elected president in 2008 and impeached in 2012 in a controversial parliamentary act.
Paraguay’s political class is currently polarized over the matter, while making other interpretations of what the constitution stipulates about reelections.
Sectors of the Colorado Party in favor of Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes running for a second term say it is possible to change that constitutional article by means of an amendment, which would require a referendum among the nation’s voters.
However, the Liberal Party, the main element of the opposition, and Colorado Party dissidents, say that complete constitutional reform is the only way to enable the constitution to validate a presidential reelection.