24 June 2012
The Socialist International has learned with grave concern of the summary removal from office of the democratically elected President of the Republic of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, following a hastily arranged vote in the senate upon charges presented by the lower house.
The lack of a fair process, including the failure to clearly define the details of the charges against the president and the responsibilities which he is accused of bearing, the restriction of debate, and above all, the denial of the president’s right to a due defence, is not acceptable. Although the procedure for the recall of the president by parliament was presented within the constitutional framework, the aforementioned deficiencies have severely undermined the legitimacy of the entire process.
These actions, describe by President Lugo as “a parliamentary coup and a coup against the democracy of Paraguay” are in contradiction with the very nature of a democratic presidential political system.
President Lugo’s election in 2008 marked the end of 61 years of rule by the Colorado Party, a period which included the one-party dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. These recent developments, ten months before presidential elections are due, run contrary to the democratic integrity of Paraguay and the democratic commitment of nations in the region, which have enshrined respect for democracy as a pillar of regional cooperation. In this difficult moment, the Socialist International expresses its full solidarity to all those in Paraguay who are seeking to guarantee respect for democracy in that country.