Paraguay. According to Countryaah, the most notable event during the year was the retirement of retired general Lino Oviedo at the age of 69 in a helicopter crash in the Chacera region on February 2, in the midst of an ongoing presidential campaign in which he was running for the National Association of Ethical Citizens (UNACE). Oviedo was a controversial person who participated in the military coup against dictator Alfredo Stroessner in 1989 and organized a coup attempt against the democratically elected President Juan Carlos Wasmosy in 1996 and was believed to be behind the assassination of Vice President Luís María Argaña in 1999.
The sudden death of Oviedo inevitably left its mark on the presidential election itself, which was held April 21. Although Oviedo was only in third place in opinion polls at the time of his death, most of his sympathizers instead cast their votes on businessman Horacio Cartes, candidate for the National Republican Organization (ANR), one of many breakout parties from Paraguay’s most powerful party, the Colorado Party. Cartes won the election with 49% of the vote against the main opposition candidate Efraín Alegre for the Paraguay Alegre alliance, which received 39% of the cast and included the ruling Liberal Radical Party (PLRA). In the congressional elections held at the same time, the ANR won a majority position in the House of Representatives and became the largest party in the Senate while the PLRA retained its mandate. Cartes swore presidential election on August 15.
The electoral process was overseen by a delegation from the US cooperative organization OAS, and the flawless implementation of the presidential election led to Paraguay re-joining the Mercosur regional free trade organization. Paraguay was expelled from Mercosur following the democratically very dubious national judicial process against the former democratically elected President Fernando Lugo in June 2012.
Two of President Carte’s first steps were to invite four opposition parties to a national pact and to order the army to step up its actions against the guerrilla group Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo (EPP) that has been active for several years.