"The demise of the long-ruling Stroessner military dictatorship in 1989 initiated a political transition in Paraguay that has been difficult at times. Current President Nicanor Duarte Frutos has implemented some reforms that have addressed corruption and contributed to economic growth. Yet, due in large part to the country's authoritarian past, Paraguay's state institutions remain weak while corruption remains ingrained in the political culture, impeding democratic consolidation and economic development. The April 2008 presidential elections could serve as a test of the strength of Paraguay's democracy since the ruling Colorado Party faces the possibility of losing its dominance after 60 years in power. At this juncture, the opposition is divided mainly between support for former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo and former General Lino Oviedo, the leader of a failed 1996 coup who was released from prison in early September 2007. Lugo had been the leading opposition candidate and was considered the frontrunner for the elections but the emergence of Oviedo's candidacy has altered the political context. Both Lugo and Oviedo may still be declared ineligible to run in the elections by the Paraguayan Supreme Court. Observers believe that, in the absence of a second-round run off, a divided opposition increases the chances of the Colorado Party's candidate retaining the presidency in the 2008 elections."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34180