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Between the liberal disaster and the old colorado formula

Twitter: @Estelaruizdiaz

Estela Ruíz Díaz Por Estela Ruíz Díaz

The results of the municipal elections rearranged the political scenario and marked the electoral territories ahead of the presidential challenge of 2023. The political chessboard became feverishly active, but it was in the opposition where a tremor was generated as a result of the good electoral performance of the ANR, which ignored the denunciations of corruption and the application of the new unblocking law.

In the Colorado Party the situation is clearer. The pre-municipal scenario was already demarcated between Horacio Cartes with his candidate Santiago Peña and, on the opposite side of the street, the Vice President Hugo Velázquez, both united by the straitjacket of the Operación Cicatriz (Operation Scar) whose suture was broken as soon as the electoral contest was over. Then, each one took their place in the ring.

THE OVELAR TRANSFER. Peña ratified in radio Monumental that he is the presidential candidate, but in a strange statement in the same radio station the deputy Bachi Núñez clarified that Honor Colorado "has not yet defined any candidacy". Pedro Alliana also assured that he is the running mate. But among the cartistas there is not much conviction of the duo as they lack the varnish of the pure colorado race (Peña was a liberal and Alliana is accused of being a "encuentrista", part of the Encuentro Nacional party). That would be the reason for Senator Beto Ovelar to join Cartes wing within the party, whose name is being considered as an alternative for the vice-presidential ticket.

Another new development was the step taken by the Añetete senators, who formally asked Mario Abdo Benítez to run for president of the Colorado Party. "We will evaluate in due time", the president answered briefly. It is almost a fact that he will decide not to do so, but he will probably support a candidacy. In the other sector, Cartes is the strongest figure, but he has not confirmed either.

In Añetete there is still no consensus on Velázquez and there is speculation about other candidacies, but the vice-president struck first and that has its advantages. Arnoldo Wiens was an option, but he is beaten by his mismanagement in Public Works, especially by the questioned ñandutí bridge. Here Velázquez gave him the first step through the Comptroller's Office, which issued a fulminating ruling against the former pastor to take him out of the fight. It remains to be seen if his punch was a knockout.

LIBERAL DISASTER. The incursion of the pharmaceutical businessman Norman Harrison aired the dense liberal internal atmosphere, which is trapped in the cannibal confrontation between Efraín Alegre and Blas Llano, because he was seen as a potable candidate for 2023. He had the most important thing: money and a discreet militancy within the PLRA. He met Fernando Lugo and other opposition leaders to understand the complex structure of alliances. "The race for the presidency is not easy, that is why I am touring and talking with the political leaders of the PLRA. I am friends with Efraín Alegre and Blas Llano", he said at the time. He played as such in the municipal elections and during the campaign he promised to make the decision after the elections. He supported Eduardo Nakayama in Asunción.

But the results hit him so hard that he fled. Especially in the Capital, where not only the liberal candidate (who made too many mistakes) lost, but also because he had the close and painful experience of political betrayal. And he put name and surname to it: "A disappointment for me was the betrayal of (Augusto) Wagner here in the capital, it is not his first betrayal and the victory is not achieved by only a few votes, 5%". The oldest liberal councilman is the best ally of all the colored mayors whose corruption he shields with his votes, because that generates more benefits for him than the triumph of his own party.

Harrison made his official statement Wednesday. "I decide to stay in the business sector and continue with my commitment from there. First of all, it is a personal decision, secondly for my family and thirdly because of this antagonism between the two leaders (Llano and Alegre), which generates a deep division within what is liberalism and does not allow to have that vocation of power that the Liberal Party had in 2008 with Fernando Lugo", he explained in a tone of frustration and defeat.

In addition to his personal reasons, Harrison did not enter the PLRA with the right foot either. He thought that his fortune was enough to achieve automatic adhesion and that Llano and Efraín were magically going to lay down their axes and give up their space. Apparently he did not want an internal election with Alegre, who so far is unbeatable.

"He got scared, he never did serious politics and he is very impatient", said a llanista, who cited an unavoidable reality as part of the electoral liturgy. The candidates for mayor needed money. "He had to give minimum 100 million guaranies to the candidate likely to win and at least 50 million guaranies to the others on D-Day. You have to bet on the mayors because they are the owners of the votes that will be useful in the general elections," he detailed the inner workings of a real campaign. He also questioned his quick disillusionment with Nakayama and his post-resignation "political analyst" attitude. "He had an opinion on everything, but ultimately he couldn't face reality."

Harrison's decision of not running for the presidency of the Republic returned the PLRA and the entire opposition to their old and trapped reality. There are still pending issues, but the main one is how to solve the hatred between Llano and Efraín (which cannot be solved with votes) because as the PLRA is the biggest partner of the opposition, its unresolved division is like the suicide stone.

It seems surreal, but it is not. The dynamics of the ANR is the same in every electoral dispute and they win by repeating the same formula, just as the opposition loses by repeating its usual mistakes.

For now, there is an acknowledgment of receipt of the colorado triumph in the municipalities. It is necessary to sit down to draw a common project, with a credible candidate, who generates hopes. Time will tell if they understood their role before history. Because if they do not manage to thread wills and individualism prevails due to political prejudices, Monday's newspaper will once again publish the same headlines as always and the country will continue in the pit of corruption and inequality.

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