Paraguay. According to Countryaah official site, the Paraguayans went to the polls on October 9 in a referendum on a proposal by the government to allow expatriate citizens to vote and to stand in national elections. The turnout was very low, only 12.5%, but the proposal was approved. Three-quarters of a million Paraguayans live abroad, most in Argentina and Spain, and the potential electoral corps thus grew by almost 25%.
However, President Fernando Lugo himself will not be able to stand for re-election in 2013. On June 26, Congress voted against a proposal by Lugo’s Frente Guasú party to consult citizens in a referendum on a constitutional change with that meaning. Congress’s rejection of the proposal was not so much due to opposition to the constitutional amendment itself, but to the referendum instrument, which Lugo said he wanted to use to increase democracy in the country but which Congress sees as populism.
President Lugo intensified efforts to pacify northern Paraguay where a guerrilla group, Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo (EPP), has carried out armed actions in recent years. Among other things, two police officers were murdered at a police station on September 21. On October 10, a 60-day emergency was introduced in the provinces of Concepción and San Pedro for police and military to carry out clean-up operations in the area.
The greatest danger to Paraguay’s economy during the year was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease among livestock in San Pedro, where the first cases were reported in mid-September. Paraguay is the world’s fourth largest meat exporter and with a value of about $ 881 million per year, meat exports have been behind most of the country’s very strong economic growth in recent years. The outbreak of illness was estimated to cost the country’s economy a total of $ 300-400 million before the danger is over.