Key Week for the Future of Paraguay - 10 February, 2003 - News

The Senate may decide on Tuesday the destitution of the President

The impeachment process against Gozalez Macchi enters into its definitive week, after prosecutors and the defense have presented their allegations. Now the Senate has to decide whether the President is liable for corruption charges or he will be able to end his mandate in September this year.

Gonzalez Macchi is accused of mismanagement on his duties as head of state and illegal possession of a stolen car. If the President is found guilty, the Senate is able to remove him and Juan Carlos Gaverna, head of the Senate would replace him until September.

"The destitution of the President Luis Gonzalez Macchi is imminent", said Galverna in declarations to a national radio station. "It is impossible to say that Macchi is innocent. The corrupted reality of our country makes it clear", added the leader of the Senate.

However, Gonzalez Macchi in an interview to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, said that he is optimistic about the question. "I consider that the evidence presented by my lawyers destroyed the allegations of the prosecutors. I know that the truth is with me", said Macchi on Sunday.

Despite Gonzalez Macchi's optimism, sources in Asuncion discount impeachment will be successful, as the necessary majority of the Senate, two thirds, would vote against him. However, Galverna, who belongs to the same political party than Gonzalez Macchi, is not completely sure on this. "Gonzalez Macchi will keep on negotiating to avoid destitution". Said the eventual future President to the press.

A recent research shows that 71% of the Paraguayan consider impeachment process as not convenient. Most of them see that the legal expiration of President's mandate in September makes useless the attempt to anticipate it.

Macchi assumed office in 1999 after his predecessor, Raul Cubas, was driven from power amid deadly street protests and accusations that Cubas was linked to the assassination of his former vice president. The congressional investigation was the latest blow to the embattled presiden, who has struggled to stem an escalating economic crisis.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo: Gonzalez Macchi, President of Paraguay, faces the outcomes of the impeachment process.

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