Paraguayans overwhelmingly chose to keep the long-ruling Colorado Party in office for another five years by supporting its presidential candidate and granting it majorities in both houses of Congress.
In a preliminary tally from the election on Sunday, economist Santiago Pea, 44, received 43% of the votes, with virtually all polling sites reporting.
This was significantly higher than the 27% that his nearest rival, Efran Alegre of the Pact for a New Paraguay, possessed. This broad-based opposition coalition had come together to try to remove Colorado’s seven-decade hold on power.
Additionally, the conservative Colorado Party performed well in other contests, taking 15 of the 17 available governorships and gaining majorities in the Senate and lower house.
The opposition coalition, led by Alegre, had been confident that it would garner support because of the general discontent about high levels of corruption and shortcomings in the health and education institutions, which gained center stage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, a sizable portion of non-Colorado voters backed Paraguayo Cubas, a right-wing populist outsider who received 23% of the vote and received a more vital anti-establishment message than was anticipated.
There were a total of 13 contenders, however, as Paraguay does not require a presidential candidate to receive more than 50% of the vote, the winner is determined by the number of votes received.
Pena celebrated a victory that will make him Paraguay’s youngest president since the country’s return to democracy on August 15.
The success of a people who, by their vote, chose the path of social peace, dialogue, fraternity, and national reconciliation is what we’re celebrating today; Pea told a crowd of supporters Sunday night.
Live long, Paraguay! The Colorado Party must continue!”
Soon after, Alegre admitted defeat.
The opposition’s splits “prevented us from reaching the goal of being able to bring about the change that the majority of Paraguayans are asking of us,” Alegre told reporters. “Today’s results indicate that perhaps our effort was not enough.”
Mario Abdo Bentez, the former president, was the first to congratulate the president-elect. He said on social media,
“Congratulations to the people of Paraguay for their tremendous participation in this electoral process and to the president-elect Santiago Pea.” “We will work to begin a transparent and orderly transition that builds upon our institutions and the nation’s democracy.”
According to Pea, the embassy of Paraguay in Israel will relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Previously, under Cartes, Paraguay moved its embassy; however, it later changed its mind. This enraged Israel, which responded by closing its mission in Asuncion.
Before the vote on Sunday, Pena told AFP, “Yes, I would go back to Jerusalem.”