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Paraguay's President Declines to Run for Second Term

  • Ken Schwartz

FILE - Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes gestures while in Brasilia, July 17, 2015.

Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes says he will not run for a second term next year, after signs that he would try to hang onto power sparked deadly riots.

Cartes made his intentions known in a letter Monday to the Archbishop of Asuncion, saying he always puts Paraguay first.

Pope Francis earlier this month urged all parties in Paraguay to seek a peaceful settlement to their political differences.

Paraguayan presidents have been limited to a single five-year term since 1992, following the brutal 30-year military rule of dictator Alfredo Stroessner.

With little fanfare, the senate passed a bill last month to change the constitution to allow Cartes to run again.

FILE - Two men pose for selfies during a protest against presidential re-elections at Congress in Asuncion, Paraguay, March 31, 2017.
FILE - Two men pose for selfies during a protest against presidential re-elections at Congress in Asuncion, Paraguay, March 31, 2017.

Opposition activists stormed the congress, setting fires and wrecking lawmakers' offices. One protester was killed.

The lower house has yet to pass the bill.

But the Stroessner dictatorship left a bad taste in the mouths of many Paraguayans for anyone who desires to remain in power.

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