AMERICA/PARAGUAY - "Parliamentary coup": the Bishops ask for legality and respect for democracy

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Asuncion (Agenzia Fides) - "The decisions taken, with serious doubts regarding their legality and legitimacy, are a sign of the absolute lack of consideration and respect for the democratic institution that with so much effort and dedication we have conquered after decades of dictatorship": is the firm declaration of the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay concerning yesterday’s events, Tuesday, March 28, when the parliamentary government established an agreement with an opposition group to present and approve, within hours, a constitutional amendment which allows the presidential re-election. Since 1992 the re-election of the President in Paraguay is prohibited by the Constitution, to protect the country from dictatorships, therefore the President can carry out a single term.
"It is urgent to reflect, calmly and responsibly on what happened, and to lead efforts to restore confidence in a very important institution for the Republic, showing a strong will to reach agreements in the legal context", the Bishops write.
Tension in the country is high, according to a note sent to Fides: last night a thousand people took to the streets along with the mayor of the capital, Asuncion, to protest against what they called "parliamentary coup" (golpe de estado of truce).
In the conclusion of the document the Bishops write: "We believe it prudent not to insist on the introduction of the presidential reelection via a constitutional amendment, because it produces unnecessary tension and social polarization that if not handled properly, could become violence with unpredictable consequences". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 29/03/2017)