Paraguay elected young politician and economist Santiago Peña as their next President, with preliminary results showing a strong rejection of challenger Efrain Alegre’s center-left coallition.
Despite scoring victory with over 40% of the vote, 44-year old Peña is already dealing with political challenges. His mentor, former President Horacio Cartes, faces sever accussations from the US of corruption and even links with terrorist groups.
Even with controversy in the air, Peña made a candid mention to the former President during his victory speech, a gesture that will surely fuel the doubts over Peña’s links to Cartes.
¡Gracias mi querido Paraguay! Gracias por confiar en mi, mi compromiso es con cada uno de ustedes. pic.twitter.com/GDVjjJ8LTj
— Santiago Peña (@SantiPenap) May 1, 2023
Peña (a former IMF economist) will have to surmount economic challenges too. A high budget deficit and declining FDI volumes weigh over the economy of Paraguay. Though GDP is expected to grow by 4% this year, the country’s (like many others in the region) is hampered by widespread poverty and corruption.
The US welcomed Peña’s victory. The State Department stated it would look forward to “advancing common interests like fighting corruption and impunity”. The statement made no explicit mention of Horacio Cartes.