February 11, 2003

Paraguay president may be impeached

Tuesday's vote will weigh accusations of mishandling funds

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) --Paraguayan senators deliberated the impeachment case
against of President Luis Gonzalez Macchi on Monday, a day before a verdict is expected
to be handed down.

Lawmakers are to vote Tuesday on accusations that the embattled leader
mishandled millions of dollars in state funds, Senate president Juan Carlos
Galaverna said.

Senators have been holding impeachment proceedings for more than two
weeks. Under the Paraguayan system, Gonzalez Macchi will be removed from
office if a two-thirds majority vote against him.

Should Gonzalez Macchi be stripped of office, the Senate leader, Galaverna,
would become president until presidential elections scheduled for April 27 are

Gonzalez Macchi has repeatedly denied accusations that he misused $16 million
in state funds.

Gonzalez Macchi has faced large-scale street protests and worker strikes while
struggling to stem an escalating economic crisis in one of South American's
poorest countries.

A former Senate leader, Gonzalez Macchi assumed office in March 1999 after
his predecessor, Raul Cubas, was driven from power by street protests and a
smiliar impeachment attempt.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.