ASUNCION – The presidential candidate in Paraguay for the ruling Colorado Party, Mario Abdo Benitez, will begin a debate on constitutional reform if he wins voters’ support in the April 2018 general elections.
“I believe the debate on constitutional reform is necessary, but it must have a large consensus, because if not it loses moral and political authority,” Abdo Benitez said in an interview with EFE.
The senator said the reform, which would be formulated by a National Constituent Convention, would deal with the possibility of presidential reelection, banned by the current constitution, but as a secondary matter.
“Without a National Constituent Assembly where the great debate is to decide the length of the presidential term, the decision on reelection is of little importance. There are other matters much more important, like the reform of the judiciary and depoliticizing the justice system...” he said.
The senator noted that his program is based on judicial reform in order to create an independent justice system “capable of rooting out impunity and corruption.”
“Maybe I won’t make many friends (with judicial reform), but my friends will be Paraguay’s 6 million people,” he said.
If he becomes president, he also hopes his term in office will be remembered for “an educational reform in Paraguay,” with greater investment in technology and creating a better careers for teachers through training, more respect for their work, and the possibility of retiring with dignity.
To finance the investments of his potential government, Abdo Benitez said he favored “expanding the base of contributors” and making changes in the system so that “people lose their usual interest in avoiding paying their taxes” because “it will be cheaper to pay” and remain within the law.
Before beginning his official run for the presidency, his work now is to unify the Colorado Party following the primaries a week ago, in which he won over former Treasury Minister Santiago Peña, who was backed by Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes.