May 20, 2013
Paraguay's president set for impeachment trial
Speaking to the press today, Lugo said he wouldn’t step down and vowed to “subject himself” to the constitutional procedure. The Paraguayan President also accused the Congress of trying “to interrupt the democratic process.”
Lugo, a former Catholic bishop elected four years ago on pledges to champion the needs of the poor, has struggled to carry out his reform agenda due to the opposition's grip on Congress.
In a vote today, the lower house approved the impeachment trial with 73 votes in favor and 1 against. It will now pass to the Senate, which is also controlled by Lugo's opponents. If approved, the impeachment trial would be held in the Senate.
The Liberal Party, which has been allied with Lugo, withdrew its support for Lugo and asked its four government ministers to resign from his cabinet.
"The Liberal Party carries no political responsibility for Lugo's government," said party president Blas Llano.
Eight police officers and nine peasant farmers were killed in armed clashes during last Friday's land eviction in Paraguay, marking one of the worst such incidents in the country for two decades.
Lugo said yesterday that he would establish a committee to investigate the bloodshed, but it failed to ease intense political pressure.