Paraguay's Lugo says only miracle can reinstate him
By Daniela Desantis
ASUNCION (Reuters) - Ousted Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo said it would take a miracle for him to return to power after Congress forced him from office in a matter of hours last week in a move that prompted criticism and sanctions abroad.
Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Friday to remove Lugo for failing to keep the peace after 17 police and peasant farmers died in clashes over a land eviction. The leftist leader was a year from completing a five-year term.
His former vice president and one of his harshest critics, Federico Franco, replaced him as president.
Lawyers for the former Roman Catholic bishop questioned the constitutionality of his lightning-quick impeachment. But the Supreme Court ratified its legitimacy, as did the country's top electoral court.
"All my legal possibilities ended yesterday when the process was declared constitutional and with the electoral court's recognition (of the Franco administration)," Lugo told Reuters in an interview held in the backyard of a political party office in the modest capital, Asuncion.
"Legally there is no other way to reverse this situation," the bearded former leader said, sitting before a large red, white and blue national flag.
"There's a chance - but it may be impossible, miraculous - that Congress itself says we have erred and they backtrack," he said, dressed casually and looking weary. "This political path exists ... but it seems impossible to me."
The president of Congress, Jorge Oviedo Matto, shrugged off international pressure on Monday and said the change of government was irreversible. Continued...