Election Universe

5 surprising points about Paraguay General Elections

5 surprising points about Paraguay General Elections
May 14 2018, 15:43

Last April, more than four million Paraguayans were registered to hit the polls for a general election. Voters went to choose both national and local authorities. The event is the seventh election since 1992 when democracy was established as the country’s form of government.

More than 700 posts were up for election. The most noteworthy being President and vice-president, but also Paraguay voted to elect 45 senators (plus 30 alternate), 80 deputies (80 substitutes); 18 Mercosur parliamentarians with their replacements, 17 governors, and 17 departmental boards.

The election process, part of Latin America’s packed voting year, ran smoothly according to international observers. However, there are at least five curious takeaways we would like to share:

  1. Even though voting is mandatory in Paraguay for men and women, from the age of 18 to the age of 75, only 2,595,465 citizens participated in the elections. Out of a total of 4,241,507 registered voters. The voter turnout was 61.40%.
  2. In Paraguay, parties have a quota for women of at least 20% of the candidates since 1996. Of the total population of voters, 49% are women, and 51% are men. However, just 18% of public offices are held by women.
  3. Voting is mainly manual in the country, although they have had some experiences with electronic voting. The transmission of results begins after all the polling stations are closed (21,401 distributed among 1,099 centres). This process is done via internet, or voice if there is no online connection.
  4. For this election, Paraguayans had the option to find their voting location online on the Tribunal Superior de Justicia Electoral’s website, or by using a text message service on their mobile phones.
  5. For the first time in the history of Paraguay, only two candidates competed for the presidential seat. The elected president (Mr Mario Abdo Benítez) belongs to the Colorado Party. The party was founded in 1887 and dominated Paraguayan politics until 2008 when it lost the general elections for the first time in 61 years.