Ex-Bishop Wins Paraguay's Presidency in Historic Vote

Ends 61 years of single-party rule
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2008 6:00 AM CDT
Ex-Bishop Wins Paraguay's Presidency in Historic Vote
Supporters of presidential candidate and former bishop Fernando Lugo celebrate after ruling-party candidate Blanca Ovelar conceded defeat in a presidential race to Lugo in Asuncion, April 20, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

Opposition leader Fernando Lugo won Paraguay’s presidential election yesterday, ending 61 years of one-party rule, Reuters reports. With nearly all votes counted, the former bishop beat Paraguay’s first female presidential contender by 41% of the vote to 10%. “We've made history,” the center-leftist Lugo told a packed square as he hailed a newly “free and independent” country.

One of tens of thousands of supporters at the celebration said the crowd was "letting off steam after 61 years of suffocation," and called the defeated ruling party “thieves and rats." Lugo ran on a platform of ending corruption. He'll take power in August. (More Paraguay stories.)

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