Horacio Cartes [es], businessman and former manager of the Libertad football club, assumed presidential authority in Paraguay before the eyes of presidents of foreign countries and other international authorities, former representatives and even international football team owners.
The photolog from the Hoy news site published [es] photos of the presidential handover ceremony taken by known bloggers and photographers Tetsu Espósito [es] and Elton Nuñez [es].
Cartes had never served in a political position. In fact, he exercised his right to vote for the first time in the last elections on April 21. In those elections, he ended up winning by a margin of almost 10 points in difference with respect to the second force formed by an alliance between the Liberal Party and other models and minority parties. Cartes's party, the National Republican Association-Colorado Party, received 45.83%, of the vote; while the Paraguay Alegre Party got 36.92%, according to the official results from the Electoral Justice.
To become a presidential candidate with the potential to win an election without any political experience, Cartes chose one of the two traditional parties with the most force and members (1,989,416 members according to the Electoral Justice registry [es]). Nevertheless, by not being colorado, he had to force the modification of the very statutes of the party that obliged him to have been a member for at least 10 years before being able to enter into pre-candidacy, managing to lower it to just one year.
“I do not ask the youth of my country for patience, I of them for healthy rebellion”
This was one of the most mentioned phrases on Twitter during the new government's opening speech. A speech so eloquent and perfectly outlined that its authorship was questioned, and whether it was read or memorized, given that Cartes did not demonstrate particularly gifted rhetoric during the campaign. Quite on the contrary, he showed great difficulties in expressing himself correctly.
Journalist Luis Bareiro (@LuisBareiro) [es] wrote:
Es la primera vez en 20 años de hacer periodismo que un discurso de asunción presidencial me entusiasma.
— Luis Bareiro (@LuisBareiro) August 15, 2013
It is the first time in my 20 years of journalism that an presidential inauguration speech excited me.
— Luis Bareiro (@LuisBareiro) August 15, 2013
A cabinet dominated by experts and not colorados
The members of the cabinet that Cartes chose was another surprise. It is common for colorado presidents (Cartes is the seventh since the fall of General Alfredo Strossner's dictatorship) to name fellow party members and politicians as members of their cabinet. Nonetheless, Cartes mainly chose men and women with no political background though their work was recognized in the private sector or in their areas of experience. Here [es] is a complete list of the new cabinet.
This was not taken well by the party leadership, and colorado members even booed during the swearing in of the other party ministers, such as the new Interior Minister, Francisco de Vargas.
The Paraguay population was very excited about the new government, noted in the remarks made on Facebook and Twitter. Many Paraguayans used hashtags #UnNuevoRumbo (A new direction), which the new president's communications team proposed through their space on Facebook [es], making an allusion to his campaign motto, and #traspasodemandopy (.
Ya es 16… ya paso el 15.. nuevas esperanzas.. #UnnuevoRumbo.. le tengo fe a @Horacio_Cartes …..
— ♡ VERO ♡ (@VeroSurnyak) August 16, 2013
Now it is the 16… the 15 has already passed.. new hopes.. #UnnuevoRumbo.. I have faith in you @Horacio_Cartes …..
Ver jurar a nuestro Presidente Electo el Sr. @Horacio_Cartes me lleno de lagrimas los ojos!! Un país entero tiene fe en Ud!! #UnNuevoRumbo ❤
— Little Miss Sunshine (@sofiastaburuaga) August 15, 2013
Seeing our President Elect Mr. @Horacio_Cartes being sworn in filled my eyes with tears!! An entire country has faith in you!! #UnnuevoRumbo ❤
Un hogar con trabajo, una familia con salud, jóvenes con educación, un país con futuro con @Horacio_Cartes #Paraguay #UnNuevoRumbo
— Enrique Ruiz Diaz (@quikeruizdiaz) August 15, 2013
A home with a job, a family with health, the youth with education, a country with a future with @Horacio_Cartes #Paraguay #UnNuevoRumbo
A group of demonstrators congregated at the acceptance ceremony disguised as Federico Franco (president for nine months following the removal of Fernando Lugo) and his wife, with posters and banners calling him a coup leader and a thief.
With the acceptance of leadership comes the end of the political and diplomatic impasse that Paraguay entered into on June 22, 2012 with the impeachment that ousted elected bishop Fernando Lugo [es] and suspended the country from Mercosur.