ASUNCION, Paraguay—The dramatic events that took place on the evening of March 31 grabbed an unusual amount of international media attention for Paraguay. After months of behind-the-scenes preparations, the governing right-wing Partido Colorado (PC), the left-wing Frente Guasu coalition (FG) and a dissident faction of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party (PLRA) made a bid to change the constitution to allow for presidential re-election, which is prohibited by Paraguay’s post-dictatorship 1992 constitution.
Allies of President Horacio Cartes—one of the country’s richest businessmen, and a political newcomer prior to his election at the head of the PC in 2013—had been working for nearly a year to build the necessary congressional majority to pass the changes. But an abrupt behind-closed-doors vote to consider the possibility of a second term provoked the ire of a normally apathetic general public.
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