April 2023 | Paraguay holds general elections, with Santiago Peña elected President
Santiago Peña, from the ruling Colorado Party, won the presidential election held on 30 April. With an estimated voter turnout of 63.1 per cent (an increase of almost two percentage points in comparison to last presidential election), and 42.93 per cent of the votes cast, Peña defeated his closest challenger, Efrain Alegre, who represented a centre-left party. Discussions around Paraguay’s diplomatic ties to Taiwan, which Peña vowed to maintain, and accusations of corruption by the United States against current President Horacio Cartes (a mentor of Peña, also from the Colorado Party), had marked a polarised race. Despite some partisan confrontations, international electoral observers found that the elections were held in orderly conditions. Members of Congress and local leaders were also elected. Preliminary results indicate that the ruling party will maintain a lead in both chambers of Congress. Only around 30 per cent of candidates for Congress were women, and preliminary results point to a slight increase in women’s representation in the Senate to 22.6 per cent.