Paraguay's president set for impeachment trial

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jun 21, 2012 10:09 AM
Paraguay's president set for impeachment trial
ASUNCION (Reuters) - Paraguay's opposition-controlled lower house of Congress voted on Thursday to start impeachment proceedings against leftist President Fernando Lugo following a land eviction in which 17 police and peasant farmers were killed last week.Lugo, a former Catholic bishop elected four years ago on pledges to champion the needs of the poor, has struggled to carry out his reform agenda due to the opposition's grip on Congress.In a vote on Thursday, the lower house approved the impeachment trial with 73 votes in favor and 1 against. It will now pass to the Senate, which is also controlled by Lugo's opponents. If approved, the impeachment trial would be held in the Senate.The Liberal Party, which has been allied with Lugo, withdrew its support for Lugo and asked its four government ministers to resign from his cabinet."The Liberal Party carries no political responsibility for Lugo's government," said party president Blas Llano.Eight police officers and nine peasant farmers were killed in armed clashes during last Friday's land eviction in Paraguay, marking one of the worst such incidents in the country for two decades.Lugo said on Wednesday that he would establish a committee to investigate the bloodshed, but it failed to ease intense political pressure.(Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Jackie Frank)