Santiago Pena, the conservative candidate from Parai Colorado, has won the presidential election in Paraguay. This victory comes after the former Minister of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank of Paraguay secured 42.7 percent of the vote with 99 percent of votes counted, which is 15 points ahead of his rival, Efrain Alegre, the center-left candidate.
Pena expressed his gratitude for his victory, saying “Thank you for this Colorado victory, thank you for the victory of the people of Paraguay” during his victory speech. His win was also celebrated by President Mario Abdo, who referred to Pena as an “elected president” in the same vein as Brazil and Argentina.
The congressional and gubernatorial election contests in Paraguay saw a number of strong performances from right-wing party candidates, including Colorado. In various provinces, Colorado candidates won by a majority over their opponents.
Pena’s victory is also significant in terms of Paraguay’s foreign relations, particularly with China and Taiwan. As Pena is known to be on the side of Taiwan, his win may indicate closer ties with that country.
However, Pena’s presidency will not be without its challenges. He must address the country’s agriculture-based economy, reduce the large fiscal deficit, and face increasing pressure from soybean and beef producers.
Pena acknowledged the tasks ahead, saying “We have many tasks, after the last few years of economic stagnation, from the fiscal deficit, the tasks that await us are not for individuals or for a group”. He also appealed to the people of Paraguay to “unite and agree”.
Pena’s win confirms the continued dominance of the Colorado Party in Paraguay, which has ruled the country for five of the 75 years of its existence. The party is known for its powerful campaigning machine, despite growing discontent over economic slowdown and corruption.
While some are happy with Pena’s victory, others are not convinced that this election will bring about much change. For instance, Maria Jose Rodas, a mother of three, expressed her worry about crime and said “All candidates are the same for me. Nothing will change.”