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Paraguay’s Impeached Democracy

ASUNCIÓN – Paraguayan democracy has taken a giant step backward since its Congress impeached President Fernando Lugo in June, plunging the country into political turmoil and diplomatic isolation. Coming only nine months before the next scheduled presidential election, this crisis erupted from political party elites’ short-sighted and brutish competition for public resources, not to mention their disdain for democracy.

Although the impeachment played out according to the constitution, there was little semblance of due process, and international observers have described the move as a “parliamentary coup.” The proceedings lasted a total of 30 hours from the time the lower house officially announced its charges to the inauguration of Lugo’s successor, former Vice President Federico Franco. Lugo’s defense occupied less than two hours of a five-hour trial in the Senate.