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Paraguay´s Senate: Constitutional move kicked Lugo without “minimum standards of due process”. New President is Federico Franco.

Paraguay´s new President Federico Franco

Paraguay’s newly sworn-in president Federico Franco set about forming a new government Saturday as he promised to honor foreign commitments, respect private property and reach out to Latin American leaders to minimize diplomatic fallout and keep his country from becoming a regional pariah.

In a brief appearance before international journalists, Federico Franco tried to broadcast a sense of normality a day after Senate (39 in favor, 4 against)  overwhelmingly voted to kick President Fernando Lugo out of office.

Lugo’s ouster drew swift condemnation around Latin America from leaders who called it a de facto coup, and several presidents said they would seek Paraguay’s expulsion from regional groups.

“This goes beyond Fernando Lugo. It goes beyond Paraguay. It’s about true democracy for all of our America,” said Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, adding that his country will not recognize the new government.

Cuba called it a “parliamentary coup d’etat executed against the constitutional President Fernando Lugo and the brother people of Paraguay.”

Criticism came not just from the left but from conservative governments, too.

Chile said Lugo’s removal “did not comply with the minimum standards of due process,” and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said “legal procedures shouldn’t be used to abuse. … What we want is to help stability and democracy be maintained in Paraguay.”

On Saturday, the Vatican’s envoy to Paraguay stopped short of recognizing the new government but expressed satisfaction there has been little unrest other than some confrontations between Lugo supporters and police during the Senate trial.

“I am very pleased that the people and authorities have thought of the good of the country, which is to keep giving one’s best for the fatherland,” Antonio Ariotti said, adding that he would read a message from the Vatican in the evening.

The German ambassador was also seen visiting the presidential palace.

“We will continue as normal with all cooperation agreements with Paraguay. We see the process of change happening within the laws and the constitution, because no parliament makes a coup d’etat,” Ambassador Claude Robert Ellner.

The U.S. State Department urged “all Paraguayans to act peacefully, with calm and responsibility, in the spirit of Paraguay’s democratic principles.”

As a collateral result of this political process, Venezuela could be accepted as new member of the MERCOSUR, since the only opposition to it was the Paraguayan Senate. Paraguay´s membership of the MERCOSUR will be suspended, according to sources.

The new President Franco will have a difficult year until the next elections in 2013, because non of the main country neighbours, Brazil and Argentina, accept the new administration.