AMERICA/PARAGUAY - Youth anti-corruption protests: resignation of three MPs

Saturday, 8 September 2018 corruption   youth   politics  

Asunción (Agenzia Fides) - Deputy Jorge Ovieto Matto has resigned after being accused of embezzlement of public funds and corruption: he is the third legislator who leaves office in less than a month. On 6 August, in fact, it was the turn of his colleague José María Ibáñez, while on 30 August the Senate accepted the resignation of Óscar González Daher who, at the end of the last term, had been deprived of parliamentary immunity. The protests began on 1 August, shortly after the start of the new Parliament, when Juan Sebastián Bonini, a young Catholic social activist and architect demanded his resignation. Days later, other former alumni associates of various Catholic schools, such as the San José Institute of the Betharramite Fathers and Christ Rey of the Jesuits, organized a protest calling for the renunciation of corrupt parliamentarians and other anti-corruption norms. The protest was joined by the federation of university students, other institutions of civil society and a large number of citizens. People's outrage also spread on social media, while the press revealed more illicit lawmakers. After the waiver of Ibáñez, the protests had targeted González Daher and, for 22 consecutive nights, many citizens demanded the resignation of the politician in front of his house, until "due to popular indignation, González Daher realized that the deputies who first assured him of their vote against his dismissal no longer supported him, and was forced to resign", explains Juan Sebastián Bonini to Agenzia Fides.
Shortly before the resignation of Oviedo Matto, the President of the Republic ratified the abolition of the regulation that required a qualified majority of two thirds of Parliament to approve the loss of parliamentary immunity. This regulation - Bonini explains - had been promulgated in the last months of the last legislature as a way of self-protection of the members of Congress.
Now the protests are targeting MPs Carlos Portillo and Víctor Bogado, who are also accused of corruption: groups of people protest in the evening in front of their residences. The facts for which Ibanez had been accused date back to 2013, while the case of González Daher came to light last December, when the press had spread recordings of his phone calls, in which he puts pressure on judges to issue favorable sentences to his relatives, politicians and business friends. (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 8/9/2018)