by the El Reportero’s wire services
Summoned by political and social organizations, hundreds of demonstrators gathered this Thursday in the Main Square of the Paraguayan capital to support a package of reforms to the electoral system under debate in the Senate.
The concentration takes place at a time when the legislative body is analyzing three projects to unblock the list of candidates, known here as the ‘sheet list,’ which prevents citizens from influencing the selection of the best candidates for public office.
The senators are examining proposals presented by the National Crusade, Beloved Homeland and Authentic Radical Liberal parties, aimed at creating open lists, electing in direct elections representatives of Mercosur and members of Departmental and Municipal Boards and establishing electronic ballot boxes.
The left-wing Guasu Front welcomed the citizen mobilization in demand of the unblocking of the lists, which aims to increase the degree of democratic participation of citizens in electoral processes.
However, the Front warned that this must be accompanied by other deep and urgent reforms to the ‘delegitimized’ Paraguayan electoral system.
Minatitlan, Mexico’s first municipality with new National Guard
The first local coordination of the National Guard, out of the 266 expected, began operating Saturday in Manititlan, Veracruz, after the announcement made by President Andres Manuel López Obrador.
Manititlan last week occupied the headlines of the national press for a ferocious slaughter of 13 people, including a baby, in a settling of scores, and the ruthless and brutal way of perpetrating it because the aggressors demanded that those present in the place watch how they were killed, including the child who was riddled with cruelty.
When he expressed his condolences to the victims’ families in a public ceremony on Friday, López Obrador announced the start up of the National Guard in this municipality, which coincides this Saturday with the start of operations of the first coordination of 266 in the country.
The same will be done this Saturday in Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos, in the south of the state, and then in Cancun, Quintana Roo, where the new armed corporation is most urgently needed.
Although the secondary laws have not been approved yet, the constitutional reform allows the government to initiate the establishment of bases for the National Guard and local coordination. The one in Manititlan is the first to be established with a sufficient number of military troops and with a single command.
Doctors, teachers and unions call for national strike in Honduras
The Honduran Medical Association called for a work stoppage on Friday after the Government issued several decrees to overhaul Health and Education the National Congress had passed first.
The group considers it ‘’embarrassing’’ for violating existing procedures, while envisioning privatization.
The National Party MPs – raising their hands – approved the reforms introduced after the Executive withdrew its bill on Restructuring and Transformation of the National Health and Education System.
Such changes do not mean massive or selective layoffs or the privatization of health services, the Government says.
Executives of the Medical College point out they cannot carry out a hand vote as the official legislators did and that this is done to prevent the vote to be counted.
The pressure measure will be at the national level in the health sector as well as in education, although they called on the people to accompany them since, they said, the most affected by the passing of the decrees is the population.
Daniel Esponda, leader of the Honduran Professional Association Magisterial Union, stated the approved decree as tendentious and harmful to the population.
We will address the National Congress where we will present our position on the approval of these decrees because there is something dark in them’, he argued.
He also added they will not allow anyone to continue mocking the Honduran population, nor the unions, ‘they should have first socialized what they approved, we did not authorize anyone to represent us,’ Esponda stressed quoted by the Criteriohn newspaper.