Mario Abdo Benítez
|Mario Abdo Benítez|
|President of Paraguay|
15 August 2018
|Vice President||Hugo Velázquez|
|President of the Senate|
1 July 2015 – 30 June 2016
|Preceded by||Blas Llano|
|Succeeded by||Roberto Acevedo|
|Born||10 November 1971
|Political party||Colorado Party|
|Spouse(s)||Fátima Díaz Benza (div.)
Silvana López Moreira
|Alma mater||Teikyo Post University|
Mario Abdo Benítez (born 10 November 1971) is a Paraguayan politician. A former president of the Senate of Paraguay, Abdo Benítez is the President-elect of Paraguay, and is due to take office in August.
Upon completion of his secondary schooling in 1989 he joined the Paraguayan Armed Forces, obtaining the rank of Second Lieutenant of Reserve Aviation and in turn was appointed by the Air Force Command as a paratrooper. He then completed his university studies at Teikyo Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut, obtaining a degree in marketing.
His first steps in politics were in 2005 as a member of the Republican National Reconstruction movement. He was later a member of the Peace and Progress movement and won the Vice Presidency of the Colorado Party in 2005. In June 2015, he was elected president of the Senate of Paraguay.
Abdo Benítez has faced criticism for his relationship with the military dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner, as his father, Mario Abdo Sr., was Stroessner’s private secretary. Abdo Benítez has claimed that Stroessner “did a lot for the country”, although he also clarified that he does not condone the violations of human rights, torture and persecution committed during the regime. When Stroessner died in 2006, he proposed that the Governing Board of the Colorado Party pay him tribute. The fortune Abdo Benítez owns was inherited from his father, who after the fall of the dictatorship was prosecuted for illicit enrichment, but the case was eventually dismissed.
In December 2017, Abdo Benítez won the Colorado Party presidential primaries by defeating former Minister of Finance Santiago Peña with 564,811 votes (50.93%) to 480,114 (43.29%). In April 2018, Abdo Benítez won the 2018 elections by defeating Efraín Alegre with 46.46% of the votes to 42.73%.
His first marriage was to Fátima María Díaz, with whom he had two sons. Following their divorce, he married Silvana López.