Short for PY by Abbreviationfinder, Paraguay is a republic where the presidential power is strong, although limited compared to the past. The current constitution, which is from 1992, rests on the idea of the distribution of power, where the president’s executive power is to be balanced by congressional legislation and the judicial power of the courts. The right of indigenous peoples to preserve and develop their own culture is particularly emphasized.
The president, who is both head of state and government, is elected in direct elections for a five-year term and, since 1992, cannot be re-elected. The President appoints his own government and has the right to veto Parliament’s decisions.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Paraguay for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The National Congress, which is the country’s parliament, consists of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies with 80 members and the Senate with 45 seats. All representatives in the National Congress are elected by the people for a term of five years, at the same time as the presidential election. The voting age is 18 years.
The Chamber of Deputies enacts national and regional laws while the Senate makes decisions on international issues. The National Congress can abolish the president’s veto power by an absolute majority in both chambers. The same procedure applies to putting the president before the national court.
Paraguay is divided into 17 provinces and the capital Asuncion. Each province is governed by an elected governor.
The strongest individual institution is still the armed forces, although its influence is limited in the Constitution. Some military forces work for a return to the society that existed during the dictatorship of 1954–1989, when the military was very powerful (see Modern History). Several coup attempts have been made after the dictatorship case.
A significant political force is also the large landowners’ lobby and interest organizations that are close to the Colorado Party (see below). At the same time, agricultural workers and indigenous peoples are fighting for a land redistribution so that landless farm workers get land. The land occupations of the movements have been met by violence from the landowners’ private militias.
The Colorado Party (or the “Red Party”, really the National Republican Federation, the Asociación Nacional Republicana-Partido Colorado, ANR-PC) was formed in 1887 and gathers a large part of the country’s elite, such as landowners, military and corporate leaders. For decades, all political power was concentrated on the Colorado Party, which is still the country’s largest and best-organized party. During the dictatorship, the Colorado Party served as the regime’s support party. Following the fall of dictator Alfredo Stroessner, internal conflicts led to it being divided into a number of factions. In a historic election in 2008, the Colorado Party lost government power but remained the largest party in the National Congress. In the following elections, 2013, the party resumed the presidential post (see Current policy). The members of the Colorado Party hold many of society’s key positions, for example in the justice system and the military system.
In the 2008 presidential election, the Colorado Party was defeated by an alliance of about ten parties from the left to the political center as well as social organizations. The dominant force in the alliance was the central party The True Liberal Radical Party (Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico, PLRA), the country’s second largest party. After the election, the PLRA broke out of the alliance and a power struggle ensued that ended with President Fernando Lugo being dismissed prematurely and the PLRA leader, Vice President Federico Franco, taking over as president until the next election just under a year later (see Modern History).
The remainder of the split Alliance Alliance formed a new Left Alliance in 2010: the Guasú Front (Frente Guasú, FG, guasú means “big” on guaraní). Already in 2012 several parties broke out of FG and formed a new party, which split the left before the next election (see Calendar).
However, before the 2018 presidential election, most of the opposition was reassembled, now in the Ganar Val Alliance (Gran Alianza Nacional Renovada, Great National Renewal Alliance).
The National League of Ethical Citizens (Unión Nacional de Ciudadanos Éticos, Unace) was founded in 2002 by the coup general Lino Oviedo (see Modern History) who thus left the Colorado Party. Oviedo was Unace’s candidate in the 2008 election and also ran in 2013, but he died in a helicopter accident two months before the election. The party subsequently lost a mandate even in the election to the National Congress.
The larger parties also include the populist Beloved Motherland (Partido Patria Querida, PPQ) which has close ties to the Catholic Church.