Duarte Frutos, Nicanor (Paraguay)
Nicanor Duarte Frutos served as president of Paraguay from Aug. 2003 to Aug. 2008. His presidency extended the rule of the Republican National Alliance–Colorado Party (ANR), which had governed Paraguay continuously since 1947. Duarte represented the party’s traditionalist faction.
Óscar Nicanor Duarte Frutos was born on 11 Oct. 1956 and brought up in Coronel Oviedo, an agricultural town in Paraguay. He joined the Colorado Party at the age of 14, and went on to study law and political science before pursuing a career in journalism.
Having served as education minister in the 1990s, Duarte took 37% of the vote at the 2003 elections, defeating three other candidates. Elected in April, he took up his position as leader in Aug. that year.
Upon his election as president, Duarte announced plans to fight corruption, reinvigorate the economy and improve the nation’s standing in the international community. He aimed to create jobs through public work programmes and, in a bid to improved efficiency in government, promised to reform the customs and internal revenue services. In 2004 he launched an overhaul of the tax system and introduced judicial reforms, particularly relating to Supreme Court appointments. The following year Duarte promised a crackdown on organized crime in the wake of a high-profile kidnapping and murder case, and in June 2006 his predecessor as president, Luis González Macchi, was sentenced to imprisonment for 6 years for illegal financial dealings.
In 2007 Duarte’s government declared two states of emergency, firstly in response to an outbreak of dengue fever and then after fires destroyed huge tracts of forest and agricultural land. Barred by the Constitution from standing for re-election, Duarte supported the candidacy of his education secretary, Blanca Ovelar. Her defeat by Fernando Lugo, of the Patriotic Alliance for Change (APC), brought to an end more than 60 years of continuous rule by the Republican National Alliance–Colorado Party (ANR).