Paraguay. On June 22, an overwhelming majority of members in both chambers of Congress voted to bring President Fernando Lugo to trial. The charges relate to “substandard performance of duties”, namely the President’s handling of certain specific issues. Some of them had constitutional grounds, such as the president’s failure to consult Congress before the signing of the democracy clause in the so-called Ushuaia II Protocol under the South American Free Trade Organization Mercosur, while others had obvious political character, such as the failure to implement land reform, which Lugo revealed not been alone though.
Vice President Federico Franco took over the office on the same day. The neighboring countries reacted with strong skepticism about the events in Paraguay and the country was temporarily excluded from Mercosur until April 2013 when presidential elections are held. The hardest in their condemnations were the heads of state in Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Argentina, who characterized the event as a disguised coup and, among other things, called home his diplomatic staff. A summit was quickly convened in Mendoza, Argentina to discuss the situation, and the newly appointed President Franco was not invited. Franco, for his part, promised that the presidential elections will be held just as the Constitution requires. At the same time, he accused the other countries of having implemented a kind of coup within Mercosur by taking the opportunity to accept Venezuela’s entry into the organization.
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The judicial process was triggered by several incidents in connection with the land reform in Paraguay. At the end of February, for example, landless peasants who occupied an area of land in the eastern part of the country to the national park ayacunday, which caused environmental activists to protest. Worst of all was the clashes between land occupants and police in the province of Canindeyú in mid-June where at least 17 people were shot dead.
According to countryaah, the population of Paraguay in 2012 was 6,688,635, ranking number 107 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.370% yearly, and the population density was 16.8355 people per km2.