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Candidate of the ruling Colorado Party Mario Abdo Benitez (L) speaks, accompanied by his wife Silvana Lopez (2-L), his candidate to the vice presidency Hugo Velazquez (2-R) and Lourdes Samaniego (R), wife of Velazquez, in front of the headquarters of the Colorado Party in Asuncion, Paraguay, Apr. 22, 2018. EPA-EFE/ANDRES CRISTALDO
Candidate of the ruling Colorado Party Mario Abdo Benitez (L) speaks, accompanied by his wife Silvana Lopez (2-L), his candidate to the vice presidency Hugo Velazquez (2-R) and Lourdes Samaniego (R), wife of Velazquez, in front of the headquarters of the…

Conservative Mario Abdo Benitez wins presidency in Paraguay

Abdo Benitez is expected to assume office in August along with Hugo Velazquez, the former speaker of the Chamber of Deputies who was elected vice president.

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The candidate from the ruling Colorado Party, the conservative Mario Abdo Benítez, was Sunday elected president of Paraguay, after the counting of votes from 96 percent of polling stations, the president of the Superior Court of Electoral Justice (TSJE) said.

Jaime Bestard, president of the TSJE, said in a press conference that with the votes of fewer than 1,000 polling stations remaining to be counted, the victory of Mario Abdo Benitez was "irreversible".

Bestard talked to the media as preliminary results showed 46.49 percent of the votes for Abdo Benitez, compared to 42.72 percent support for Efrain Alegre of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party, a lead of more than 3 percentage points for Abdo Benitez over the opposition candidate.

Abdo Benitez is expected to assume office in August along with Hugo Velazquez, the former speaker of the Chamber of Deputies who was elected vice president.

The results show the Colorado Party winning in most of the 17 departments (provinces) of the country, where elections for forming local governments were also held simultaneously.

The party secured an important but narrow victory in the central department, a liberal stronghold until now, which accounts for almost 25 percent of total votes in the country.

In single-round elections, more than 4 million Paraguayans also voted to elect the members of the Congress - the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies - and representatives for the Parlasur, the parliamentary institution of the Mercosur trade bloc.

Results for the Congress seats will be announced next week.

The TSJE has estimated that around 64 percent of the 4,241,507 voters cast their vote in the elections.

The observer missions of the Organization of American States, the European Union and the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations said that the polls were held normally and vouched for the standards of the electoral process.

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