Paraguay: Report on the 1988 General Election. March 28, 1988.
General Alfredo Stroessner has served as President of Paraguay since 1954. On February 14, 1988, he was re-elected as the candidate of the Colorado Party to serve another five year term. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) designated Richard W. Soudriette as its official observer to the 1988 Paraguayan general elections. This report offers his observations.
II. CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL SCENE
After 34 years of rule by President Stroessner the winds of change are beginning to blow. Following his re-election in 1983, many Paraguayans realized that Stroessner would not survive forever.
Beginning in 1983 there was increased pressure for more press freedom. An independent newspaper known as ABC COLOR, became the most popular paper in the country by fearlessly printing articles openly critical of the government. ABC Color was shut down by the government in 1984. From 1985 to 1987 other media also defied the government. Radio Nanduti, an opposition station, and the paper of the Febrerista Party "El Pueblo" vigorously challenged the Stroessner government until they were also closed in 1987.
During this same period there was an increase in political activity and turmoil. Paraguay experienced its first riots in decades in 1986, when police used clubs and tear gas to quell demonstrations by medical personnel demanding increased wages at the government hospital in Asuncion and by students at the National University.