Conservative wins Paraguay presidential poll: Official

Paraguayan presidential candidate Mario AbdoBenitez of the Colorado Partido shows his inked finger before casting his vote at a polling station in Asuncion, Paraguay, on April 22, 2018.
Paraguayan presidential candidate Mario AbdoBenitez of the Colorado Partido shows his inked finger before casting his vote at a polling station in Asuncion, Paraguay, on April 22, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

ASUNCION (AFP) - Mario Abdo Benitez, who represents Paraguay's long-dominant Colorado conservatives, won Sunday's (April 22) presidential poll, landing the top job in one of Latin America's poorest countries, election officials said.

The US-educated son of a senior aide to the country's late dictator, Abdo Benitez won 46.49 per cent of the vote, with his centrist opponent Efrain Alegre taking 42.72 per cent in a race that was far closer than expected.

"The president of the republic is Mario Abdo Benitez," said election chief Jaime Bestard, declaring him winner after 96 per cent of the votes were counted.

Polls had given the 46-year-old a lead of up to 20 percentage points over Alegre, a 55-year-old former public works minister representing the center-left GANAR coalition.