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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Paraguay’s New Interior Minister Sworn In

ASUNCION – Paraguay’s new interior minister Lorenzo Dario Lezcano was sworn in Wednesday during a ceremony in Asuncion attended by high-level government officials and police commanders.

Lezcano, who was named acting interior minister by President Horacio Cartes in April amid a political crisis, took the oath of office at the Government Palace.

The Office of the President said Tuesday evening that Lezcano had been confirmed as head of the ministry by Cartes.

Lezcano took over the Cabinet department responsible for law enforcement and security on April 1, replacing Tadeo Rojas, who had been sacked by Cartes following protests against his attempt to amend the constitution to allow presidential re-election.

Violence erupted in Paraguay’s capital on March 31 after news broke that the Senate had passed a constitutional amendment to authorize presidential re-election during a closed-door session.

The motion was due to be brought to the lower house for another vote the next day, but plans were postponed by the Chamber of Deputies after protesters stormed and set fire to the legislative building, where both chambers are seated.

The protests spread to other areas of Asuncion, which was rocked by clashes between demonstrators and police.

Current legislation in Paraguay limits the nation’s president to just one term, in line with measures implemented after the fall in 1989 of the Stroessner dictatorship in the landlocked South American country.

Just after midnight on March 31, police raided the headquarters of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party (PLRA), the main opposition party, where activist Rodrigo Quintana was shot dead.

The PLRA alleges that the 25-year-old Quintana was killed by police.

On April 17, Cartes said he would not seek another term in 2018, abandoning his effort to amend the constitution.

The Guasu Front, founded by former President Fernando Lugo, and the Colorado Party were backing the effort to allow presidents to serve more than one term.

The Guasu Front supported the constitutional change because it would allow Lugo to run for the presidency in 2018, while the Colorado Party had wanted Cartes to get a shot at another term.

 

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