44-Year-Old Ex-minister Wins Paraguay Presidential Election

Paraguayans elected a president from the rightwing party in power for nearly eight decades on Sunday, rejecting a center-left challenger who had railed against endemic institutional corruption.
Economist and former finance minister Santiago Pena, 44, took the election with more than 42 percent of the vote to continue the hegemony of the conservative Colorado Party, results showed.

Sixty-year-old challenger Efrain Alegre of the Concertacion center-left coalition garnered nearly 27.5 percent despite having gone into the vote with a narrow lead in opinion polls.

The outcome bucked a recent anti-incumbency trend in Latin American elections with voters repeatedly punishing establishment parties, often in favor of leftist rivals.

The Colorado Party has governed almost continually since 1947 — through a long and brutal dictatorship and since the return of democracy in 1989, but has been tainted by corruption claims.

Pena thanked Cartes in his first public address as president-elect for his “stubborn dedication to the party,” to loud cheers from supporters at party headquarters.

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