Paraguay’s Lugo protests as new cabinet sworn in
ASUNCION (Reuters) – Paraguay’s new centre-right president swore in his cabinet yesterday as neighbouring nations intensified diplomatic pressure over the sudden impeachment of his leftist predecessor, Fernando Lugo.
Federico Franco took office on Friday, moments after Lugo – a former Roman Catholic bishop – was ousted by the opposition-controlled Congress in an impeachment hearing that lasted less than six hours.
Lugo’s sudden ouster a year from the end of his term has drawn strong criticism and diplomatic sanctions from many governments in a region scarred by coups and political instability in the 1970s and 1980s.
They want to send a stern warning about the consequences of removing a democratically elected leader, even if Lugo’s chances of returning to power appear remote.
Lugo initially said he accepted Congress’s decision, prompting some governments to recognize Franco’s administration.
He has taken a tougher line, however, as regional pressure mounts on Franco – Lugo’s former vice president and one of his harshest critics.