Incoming Paraguay president promises to continue low tax policies

24 Apr 18

Conservative former senator Mario Abdo Benitez has been elected president of Paraguay, pledging to retain low tax policies and boosting agriculture exports.

He beat the liberal opposition leader Efrain Alegre by four percentage points, meaning the right-wing Colorado Party, which has dominated politics in decades, will remain in power.

“My administration will be committed to gaining the confidence of those who did not accompany us,” he said in his acceptance speech on Sunday night, the BBC reported.

“[We] welcome those who want to build a just homeland, a homeland with equity, a homeland with moral, strong, independent institutions.”

The preliminary results found Benitez had won 46.46% of the vote compared to 42.73% for Alegre, the electoral commission said on Monday after counting 96% of the ballots.

Alegre has not yet conceded victory, but he told reporters that he “respects” the preliminary results.

The new president has promised to continue to support the low-tax policies in place, which aim to attract foreign investment and agriculture production in the country.

The Latin American country is a leading exporter of soybeans and beef and has seen strong economic growth in recent years.

Both candidates have pledged to reform the country’s judicial system to combat corruption.

“I promise that when I am president I will honour the vote of the people, strengthening institutions to fight the greatest vices of democracy: corruption and impunity,” said Benitez in the run-up to the vote.

Paraguay ranked 135 out of 180 on the Corruption Perception Index 2017 published by Transparency International.

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