Paraguay elects tobacco magnate as president

Associated Press
Paraguay's Colorado Party's Presidential candidate Horacio Cartes shows his inked finger which was marked after casting his ballot during general elections in Asuncion, Paraguay, Sunday, April 21, 2013. Most polls indicate that tobacco magnate and soccer executive Horacio Cartes of the Colorado Part will win the presidency handily over his chief rival, Sen. Efrain Alegre of  Liberal Party. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — Paraguayans have elected a wealthy tobacco magnate as president, returning the Colorado Party to the top office that it held for 61 years before former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo won the office in 2008.

Horacio Cartes won by a wide margin over Efrain Alegre of the Radical Liberal party. Alegre has conceded defeat.

The 58-year-old Cartes is part of the tiny elite that controls just about everything in Paraguay. His father sold Cessna airplanes and Cartes went to school in the U.S. Now he owns banks, investment funds, agricultural estates, a soda maker and tobacco plantations, and he runs the champion Libertad football club.

Many Paraguayans hope this election will end Paraguay's isolation after Mercosur suspended its membership for impeaching Lugo.

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