Weekly Report - 30 March 2023 (WR-23-13)

PARAGUAY: Will corruption influence voters?

It was all mutual backslapping when Paraguay’s foreign minister, Julio César Arriola, visited Washington DC on 27 March to discuss a range of issues of bilateral importance with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. It was eye-catching, however, that among those attending the meeting was the US Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption, Richard Nephew. This was a stark reminder that in January the US government sanctioned former president Horacio Cartes (2013-2018) for “rampant corruption”. The big question, with one month to go until Paraguay’s general election, is whether this will have a significant impact on voters when they cast their ballots given that Cartes’ acolyte Santiago Peña is seeking the presidency for the ruling Asociación Nacional Republicana-Partido Colorado (ANR-PC). The answer is not easy to discern in an array of electoral surveys conducted in recent weeks, which predict wildly divergent outcomes.

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