The opposition and a necessary conversation

Estela Ruíz Díaz Por Estela Ruíz Díaz

Efrain Alegre has put a countdown on his Twitter. "518 days for a new Paraguay". Other times he says: "521 days to eradicate cancer out of Paraguay", or so many days for a Paraguay "without mafias". In these short phrases of his presidential campaign, which changes daily, he states his political position, which makes it very clear where he is aiming at.

The llanismo, which does not intend to yield a millimeter in favor of Alegre, entered the campaign encouraging the governor of Cordillera, Hugo Fleitas.

On the opposite side of the street, but in the same neighborhood of the opposition, the encuentrista deputy Kattya González, with a preferential position in the polls, does her own thing in the same social network.

The Patria Querida Party nominates deputy Sebastián Villarejo.

Others think that those who should lead the opposition project are the mayors of Encarnación, Luis Yd; or Miguel Prieto, of Ciudad del Este, or Ricardo Estigarribia, of Villa Elisa, who were reelected in a resounding way and are fresh faces in politics.

This is how, essentially, the opposition scenario for the general elections of 2023 looks like, facing a Colorado Party which has already defined its panorama, with the usual simplicity: its internal campaign focused on two candidates representing the ruling party versus the opposition. Vice President Hugo Velázquez as continuity of the current government model, and Santiago Peña, the candidate that Horacio Cartes puts at stake for the second time.

After the municipal elections, the ANR was strengthened because it improved its performance at the expense of the PLRA, which not only lost mayorships, but also more than 200 councilors throughout the country. The left was knocked out.

COMMON VISION: The word "opposition" is mentioned as an umbrella term that covers everyone equally, as if they had the same vision and the same political, economic, and social objectives in a childish conclusion. But are all the non-colorado movements and parties the opposition?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the last years ideological differences have deepened, and this has been very noticeable in the Parliament, where the dispute between conservatives and progressives has generated tension more than once; especially regarding the land issue, even the nomination of a Supreme Court judge has been tainted by ideological visions.

That is why it is a mistake to believe that THE OPPOSITION is all the non-colorados and that they are all going to unite. For example, Patria Querida and Hagamos on several occasions demonstrated greater affinity with the ANR. A sector of the PLRA is more loyal to Honor Colorado even against its own party. When positions are to be defined, everyone looks for their own convenience and amid this balkanization, the Colorados almost always end up winning. Throughout these 32 post-Stronista years, the liberales have decided to co-govern from a comfortable second place with the ANR, and because of this, major reforms have not been possible, and institutions have been perverted. They decided not to be comptrollers, but accomplices of this exasperating status quo.

The year 2023 is the real context of the different opposition parties and movements that in their discourse point out that they must be united because that is the only way to overthrow the ANR. However, none of them dares to accept the rejection of the other.

The Table of Presidents has initiated the talks. As it is an institutional call, the party presidents are attending. For now, it seems to be a meeting with a predominance of Alegre's leadership and that is the great challenge he has: to accept that there are deep divisions and that the conversation with the parties’ dissidences must be broadened because otherwise the objective will not be achieved.

The idea that not everyone will be able to enter as if it were Noah's ark, must also be acknowledged. In fact, Frente Guasu has already warned that if Patria Querida joins, they will withdraw because of their ideological differences. In 2008, PPQ did not support Fernando Lugo, citing that the antagonism is deep and long-standing.

Another point is deciding who will be the running candidates for the ticket. For the time being, there is an open list to make the agreement, but nobody dares to compete with Alegre due to the structure he manages within the PLRA. In fact, Kattya González has so far refused to attend the meetings because she wants Alegre to step aside voluntarily alleging that he is not winning in the polls. It is also another childish argument to pretend that Alegre gives away his space. What is the basis to sustain that? Polls without credibility?

The worst thing is that they know that if they are not able to unite the greatest possible force, there is no possibility of overcoming the ANR, which for now only needs to move its army to win the elections. Even with its worst candidate. Of course, the colorados need the opposition to remain divided and they will surely bet money on different candidacies to maintain the votes dispersed.

Time is running out fast, the difficulties continue, and, at the moment, there is no democratic coalition strong enough to give people a sense of hope. Because, besides solving bureaucratic issues, knowing who are indispensable and who are not; acknowledging that not all are the same, that sometimes they pretend more positions than the votes they can obtain, they need to convince the people and that will only be achieved with candidacies that awaken passions and hopes for change.

Do they have the capacity to overcome their differences? Do they know that a candidate is not made in record time and that there are no miracles in politics?

If they do not have the capacity to look beyond their narrow worlds, today political alternation does not even appear as a probable option.

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